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Many young cancer patients may have limited awareness of fertility preservation options

Posted by HSFCblog in News 28 Jul 2015

Dr Venkat, Director, Harley Street Fertility Clinic comments on the findings of a new study published in the Journal CANCER.

“A worrying new study published in this month’s CANCER (a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society) found there to be an inconsistent and unreliable approach when raising the issue of fertility amongst young cancer patients.

The new study points to the need for an increased awareness of fertility preservation options for young patients. Disturbingly, the study found that factors such as gender, education and insurance status can impact whether patients and healthcare professionals have discussions and take actions to preserve a young person’s fertility for the future.

Some treatment options for cancer can cause patients to become infertile – it is therefore vital for patients and healthcare professionals to have an honest and practical approach about fertility preservation techniques that are now widely available both here in the UK and in the US. The study even found that one-third of males reported making arrangements for fertility preservation, which was four to five times higher than the rate seen in females.”

Dr Venkat adds; ”When you’re young and you have cancer you may not automatically think about how your treatment might affect your fertility in the future. As a healthcare community we need to take responsibility and ensure that we explain the impact of some treatments and encourage our young patients to take steps to increase their chances of having a family in the future.  Asking a teenage whether they want to have children when they’re older can be too much of tricky issue especially when they are facing a recent scary cancer diagnosis.  Let’s help make it easier for them to have these conversations and support them in making the right decision which will help them recover and go on to lead a normal and fulfilling life.”