Young female cancer patients need better information on fertility

22 July 2013

Many young women who undergo treatment for cancer do not get enough information about the possible consequences for their fertility, a study has found.

Research from the University of Sheffield and Leeds General Infirmary suggests more needs to be done to warn women that they may be more likely to need fertility treatment in order to conceive in the future, and to inform them of their options at the time of their diagnosis.

The research team surveyed 150 young cancer survivors in 2004 and 140 in 2011 to investigate the experiences of both men and women in terms of discussions about their future fertility.

They found that most males had discussed their fertility before starting treatment and were satisfied with those discussions, both in 2004 and in 2011.

However, fewer females said they had discussed fertility options prior to commencing cancer treatment, although the situation had improved slightly by 2011.

Despite this, women who were surveyed in 2011 were no more satisfied with these discussions than those who were involved in the earlier poll.

Publishing their findings in the journal Pediatric Blood & Cancer, the study authors observed: "This may reflect the approach by professionals or the absence of effective fertility preservation strategies for them."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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