PYNK Program

Researchers: N/A
Co-Investigators: N/A
Project Status: In Progress

The PYNK program for young people diagnosed with breast cancer will help people under 40, who face a range of unique issues because of their age and the nature of their disease.

“Breast cancer is particularly challenging for younger patients, with more aggressive treatments and significant long-term impacts,” says Dr. Bindi Dhesy, JCC medical oncologist, who co-led PYNK’s establishment with Dr. Nidhi Kumar Tyagi.

While local resources exist, they can be confusing to navigate while patients are focussed on treatment. The PYNK program will help young breast cancer patients find and access the unique services they need.

BRIGHT Run, in partnership with the Toronto-based Jesin-Neuberger Charitable Foundation, has funded this exciting new initiative, the third such program in Ontario.

Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis at any age is very difficult, but for people under 40, there are unique concerns including:

  • Body image issues
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Accessing fertility counselling and support
  • Accessing genetic counselling and education in a timely way
  • Understanding and managing the impact of the diagnosis on relationships, both existing and future
  • Managing treatments around emerging careers or education
  • Talking about the diagnosis and treatment with their children
  • Finding peer support
  • Navigating the breast cancer system

Every year, more than 800 new breast cancer patients arrive at the JCC; of those, approximately 90 and under the age of 40 years. Recent research indicates that there’s a need to address this patient population’s particular issues.

Sandra Turner, the JCC PYNK program’s care co-ordinator will ensure continuity of care and access from the point of diagnosis to treatment at the JCC and follow-up. Referrals to the program began in the spring of 2023.

The PYNK program will also provide an opportunity for research and innovation to address the issues specific to young people with breast cancer, as well as being a source of participants for clinical trials.