Illustration by Jeannie Phan.

In a patient’s breast cancer journey, empathy and support play pivotal roles. A year after its launch, the PYNK program is meeting the unique needs of young women with breast cancer.

Sandra vividly recalls the moment her life was upended.

The 31-year-old had been referred to Mount Sinai Hospital after discovering a large lump in her breast. “I was prepared to learn that I had breast cancer,” recalls Sandra of that first, fateful appointment with Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley, Medical Director of the Cancer Program at Sinai Health. “But I had no idea that I’d be dealing with Stage IV.”

Sandra’s diagnosis happened to coincide with Mount Sinai’s introduction of the PYNK: Young Women with Breast Cancer program, designed to meet the unique needs of women 45 and younger who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Those specific needs can include everything from fertility preservation to balancing work with treatments to helping navigate new personal partnerships.

When Sandra learned about PYNK and the opportunity to help pilot the program at Sinai Health, she jumped at the chance. “It can be overwhelming to navigate the physical and mental impacts of cancer. I feel so supported knowing that there’s always someone an email or phone call away to answer my questions and walk me through it,” says Sandra, who has formed a special bond with PYNK Coordinator, Linda Muraca. “Talking to Linda is like catching up with a friend. She creates a safe space where I can ask or share anything,” she explains.

Read more about Sandra’s journey and the compassionate care she received from our PYNK coordinators here.