Women 'left without advice on fertility during cancer treatment'

7 November 2011

Women diagnosed with breast cancer may not receive adequate information on the effects of cancer treatment on fertility, a new report has shown.

Information presented at the National Cancer Research Institute Cancer Conference in Liverpool today (November 7th) showed that women are often not advised on how to preserve their eggs for future fertilisation.

Researchers at the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust surveyed more than 300 breast cancer surgeons, nurses and cancer doctors and found that fewer than 40 per cent of those questioned had taken into account personal circumstances of the patient as to whether they would be advised on fertility or not.

Author of the report Dr Judy King, cancer specialist at the Royal Free Hospital, said: "Each breast cancer multidisciplinary team should have a fertility lead responsible for identifying patients who are suitable for referral to a fertility specialist."

She added that there should be a clear, prompt referral pathway for patients to allow time for fertility preservation without the need to delay the start of treatment.

According to Macmillan Cancer Care, treatment for the disease often affects a woman's sex drive and doctors should also be able to give practical advice on this.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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