Study: Cancer Centers Ignore Fertility Preservation In Adolescents and Young Adults

Holy Hormones Journal: This policy has to change – especially the increasing survival rates of  adolescents and young adults.  I hate to think that this may be another form of forced sterilization or genetic eugenics. But, I guess I did think it – since I wrote it here.  A woman can not turn anywhere without her fertility being affected.

Saving Fertility Not Priority at Most Cancer Centers, Study Shows

ScienceDaily
December 19, 2013

what-can-be-done-to-prevent-infertility-after-cancer-treatmentInfertility is consistently listed as one of the most distressing long-term side effects of cancer treatment for adolescents and young adults. Yet the leading National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers — which should be leaders in fertility preservation — aren’t doing an adequate job of helping patients protect their fertility, reports a new Northwestern Medicine® study.

Most of these centers around the country do not have policies or procedures in place to consistently identify which patients may be at risk for fertility loss, inform patients of this risk in a timely manner or refer them to fertility specialists, the study found. At the time of the study, there were 39 comprehensive cancer centers that treated adults.

“It can be shocking for patients to find out their fertility was affected when there were potentially options that exist that were not offered to them,” said lead study author Marla Clayman, an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

The paper was published this month in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

“These are the centers that are at the vanguard of research and have the most people and financial resources,” Clayman added. “This should be part of the exemplary cancer care patients get in these centers.”

A patient navigator for fertility preservation sees cancer patients at the Lurie Cancer Center, Clayman noted. Northwestern is the site of the Oncofertility Consortium, a national, interdisciplinary initiative designed to explore the reproductive future of cancer survivors.

Survival rates for young cancer patients have steadily increased over the past four decades due to more effective treatments. More women and men look forward to life after cancer and having children is a key part of their hope for the future.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.