Cancer patients lack access to fertility support

Up to half of cancer patients of reproductive age do not receive adequate information about the impact of treatment on their fertility, decreasing their options for family planning and support, a new study suggests.

“When we look at studies of regret after cancer treatment one area that is always mentioned is reproductive regrets. Women come back and say they never got the chance to discuss their fertility and now it is gone,” Dr. Donald Dizon, clinical co-director of gynecologic oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, told Reuters Health.

“My hope is that this study reinforces the importance of bringing up fertility to all patients of reproductive age regardless of prognosis,” said Dizon, who wasn’t involved in the research.

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For the new analysis, Dr. Shanna Logan at Kids Cancer Center, Sydney Children’s Hospital in Australia and colleagues examined data from 23 previous studies conducted in seven countries from 2007 to 2016.

Across the studies, the likelihood that health care providers and patients discussed fertility issues depended on the provider’s specialty, the patient’s gender and age, and the provider’s attitude and knowledge of fertility preservation techniques.

In one study included in the review, 93 percent of clinicians said they…

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