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Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  Odette Cancer Program  >  Breast cancer care  >  PYNK: Young Women With Breast Cancer  >  Why donate to PYNK?

Why donate to PYNK?

Facing a diagnosis of breast cancer is frightening, especially for young women. Studies suggest younger women are more likely to be diagnosed with larger cancers and are at greater risk of psychological and social distress. These women often face their diagnosis while coping with establishing intimate relationships, emerging careers, or parenting young children.

For this reason, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Dr. Ellen Warner, along with an interdisciplinary team of healthcare experts and young breast cancer survivors, created PYNK: Breast Cancer Program for Young Women, to address the special needs of women aged 40 and under with breast cancer.

This program, the first of its kind in Canada, has helped over 350 women since its establishment in 2008, Most of the referrals are young women newly diagnosed with breast cancer who want their treatment at Sunnybrook. But we also get many women who have been treated elsewhere reaching out to our experts on specific issues such as pregnancy after breast cancer.

Newly diagnosed PYNK patients and their families receive a continuum of care form the time of diagnosis through treatment and follow-up. During the initial visit, a woman’s needs are assessed and the program’s nurse coordinator – whose salary is supported entirely by donations – acts as a navigator, guiding women through the process of treatment and connecting them with appropriate specialists. Workshops and counselling sessions are available on a regular basis to offer women a friendly and open environment for sharing their questions, concerns and experiences.

Beyond its supportive care, PYNK conducts research in areas that matters to young women with breast cancer. For example:

  • Our PYNK psychologist, Dr. Karen Fergus, is developing online support programs, eg. Couplelinks, which aims to improve communication, empathy and intimacy of young couples coping with breast cancer; a lifestyle intervention for healthy weight management and improved quality of life in breast cancer survivors.
  • A study to search for unique biologic targets for treatment of women diagnosed with breast cancer after pregnancy, who often have more aggressive cancers
  • Collaborating with Harvard’s Dana Farber researchers to have the tumour analyzed for molecular clues to determine why young women, particularly those of certain ethnicities or under certain biological condition, often have more aggressive breast cancers than older women.
  • Collaborating with the Hospital for Sick Children to monitor the health and brain development of children whose mothers had chemotherapy to treat breast cancer when they were pregnant.

Thanks to essential support from donors, PYNK can continue to offer tailored care and carry out focused research for young women with breast cancer. Please click the button below to donate: