Announcing the SHE-CAN Clinic

April 25, 2024

New clinic set to launch dedicated to advancing care and research in menopause for women with breast cancer

Sinai Health’s Centre for Mature Women’s Health and Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre are partnering to launch a brand new clinic, called the SHE-CAN (Sexual HEalth in breast CANcer) Clinic. Expected to open shortly, it will specifically support women who suffer from gynaecologic symptoms of menopause after being diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. The clinic aims to address the massive unmet need to support the unique health challenges that women with breast cancer and menopause face.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, with 25,000 new diagnoses in Canada every year. Anti-estrogen therapy is a highly effective treatment for breast cancer, but it can come with a catch: menopausal symptoms. Three quarters of our breast cancer patients undergoing this treatment report suffering from Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM), a range of symptoms that affect the reproductive and urinary systems as a result of declining estrogen. As many as 20 to 30 per cent will stop their breast cancer treatment early because of these symptoms – even if it means increased risk for their cancer.

20-30 per cent of patients will stop treatment because their menopause symptoms are so severe.

Why? Because the gynaecological symptoms of menopause can be devastating, particularly as they relate to sexual health. And then there are the symptoms of menopause itself: hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, sleep disruption and joint pains can be debilitating and challenging to manage.

Despite all this, did you know that most women with breast cancer aren’t even asked about menopausal symptoms? By changing the dialogue and emphasizing the importance of addressing these symptoms as part of a comprehensive approach to breast cancer care, the SHE-CAN Clinic will represent a significant step toward improving health equity for women.

By addressing the symptoms of menopause as part of a comprehensive approach to cancer care, the SHE-CAN Clinic represents a significant step toward improving health equity for women.

The SHE-CAN Clinic will be one of only a handful in North America dedicated to managing symptoms of menopause for this population, and the only in Canada focused on advancing research in an area that has received so little attention. It aims to both improve the quality of life of women undergoing treatment as well as that of their families, and to ensure the best possible outcome for their cancer. In addition, it will focus on supporting young patients in our PYNK: Young Women with Breast Cancer program, which is designed to meet the unique needs of women 45 and younger who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The clinic will provide a central point of access with a dedicated number of hours each month for seeing patients. Added resources like a nurse practitioner and centralized administration will further enhance capacity, allowing us to see more patients every year – as many as 500.

The SHE-CAN Clinic will allow us to increase our capacity and see 500 patients each year.

The SHE-CAN Clinic is a prime example of Sinai Health’s commitment to caring for women across the lifespan. The clinic builds on our deep expertise in menopause and mature women’s health, and in the care of patients with breast cancer. Led by Dr. Wendy Wolfman, director of the Centre for Mature Women’s Health, and Dr. Christine Brezden Masley, director of the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital, the clinic is uniquely positioned to lead care and research for this unique patient population.

This is an exciting development for the Centre for Mature Women’s Health and a sign of promising things to come. Stay tuned for more campaign updates by subscribing to our newsletter today.

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