A woman stretches.

One of the main goals of PYNK is to not only give our young patients at Sunnybrook the best possible "whole person" care, but to improve the treatment of all young women with breast cancer through research. Women in the program are offered (entirely voluntary) participation in many different studies aimed to advance our knowledge about cancer prevention, screening, treatment and supportive care of young women with breast cancer.

Completed projects (partial list)

Ongoing projects

  • Reducing the burden of breast cancer in young women (RUBY)
    This is a $6 million Canada-wide study (at over 30 centres) that has enrolled over 1200 patients aged 40 and younger since 2015. Extensive data from patient charts, patient questionnaires, blood and tumour samples is being collected from each patient. There are multiple research questions being studied now on these women and the data will be an invaluable resource for future research. Over 80 PYNK patients have enrolled in RUBY as of August 2020.
  • Evaluation of clinical outcomes in women with pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC)
    Between the start of PYNK in 2008 and the start of RUBY in 2015, almost 300 PYNK patients were registered in a database with clinical data, blood and tumour samples collected as in RUBY (PYNK was actually the prototype for RUBY). The databased in updated regularly with the status of the patients. We are comparing outcomes and determinants of recurrence in women with pregnancy-associated breast cancer compared to age-matched women
  • Long-term neurodevelopment of children exposed to maternal chemotherapy and/or surgery for breast cancer during pregnancy in collaboration with SickKids Hospital

Clinical trials

Our breast site group always has multiple studies running that are attempting to find better systemic, radiation and/or surgical treatments for breast cancer. While most of these studies are not limited to young patients, our PYNK patients have full access to these trials, which often involve novel treatments not available outside of a study.