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Hospital  >  Care Programs  >  Odette Cancer Program  >  Breast cancer care  >  PYNK: Young Women With Breast Cancer
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What is PYNK?

Established in 2004, PYNK is a special program, the first of its kind in Canada, designed for women aged 40 and younger newly diagnosed with breast cancer who will be receiving their medical oncology care at the Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto. Women in this age group who do not yet have a medical oncologist and would like to be treated at Sunnybrook can be referred to PYNK by their family doctor or surgeon. Young breast cancer patients being treated outside Sunnybrook are welcome to use the many resources on this website.

Why a special program designed for young women?

A breast cancer diagnosis can affect every part of a young woman’s life: her body, her energy, her mental health, her emotions, her relationships, her fertility and more.

Although women aged 40 and younger make up less than 10 per cent of all breast cancer patients, they have unique needs.

Studies show younger women:

  • may require different management due to differences in the tumour’s biology and the woman’s stage of life. A few examples are: the greater likelihood of a genetic cause of the breast cancer, treatment-related infertility, and early menopause.
  • are at greater risk of psychological distress due to: coping with fragile early relationships or fear of new relationships, struggling to care for young children and explain the diagnosis and treatment to them without scaring them, emerging careers, social isolation from healthy peers, fewer financial resources, and more body image issues.

Personalized Care

The patients in PYNK and their families receive a continuum of care from the time of referral (which is often right after their diagnosis) through treatment and follow-up. The needs of each woman and her family are assessed by the PYNK nurse co-ordinator who helps navigate patients through the process of treatment and recovery. Working together with the rest of the oncology team, the PYNK nurse connects each patient with the appropriate specialists (eg. fertility expert, genetic counsellor, plastic surgeon) supports (individual and group) and resources (e.g. information about nutrition, exercise, and wigs, age-appropriate books for children, etc.).

How PYNK can help

Diabetes Care Team

Support

Women under age 40 being treated at Sunnybrook can access group and individual support

Patient education

Virtual library

Young women facing breast cancer at Sunnybrook and beyond can find a wealth of information in our virtual library

 

PYNK is supported entirely by the generosity of donors.


For physicians

Referrals

Referral criteria:
• newly diagnosed
• aged 40 and under

Contact us at:
Emily Walker
416-480-5000 ext. 7938
Fax: 416-480-6179


For patients

Latest from our blog:
Breast cancer and fertility

Self-management toolsNew resource: Body image after breast cancer