(ChemotherapyAdvisor)– Marked differences exist between young adult males and females with cancerwith respect to receiving fertility-related information and use of fertilitypreservation, results of a study conducted in Sweden reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology online May14.
“Being able to have children is an important part of cancersurvivorship, and several options are available to preserve patients’ futurefertility,” the investigators noted. “Our findings indicate deficienciesregarding fertility-related information provided to patients with cancer ofreproductive age, particularly female patients.”
They investigated perception of fertility-related information anduse of fertility preservation among male and female cancer survivors diagnosedfrom 2003 to 2007 identified in population-based registers in Sweden. Survivorswere 18 to 45 years of age at diagnosis and had lymphoma, acute leukemia,testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, or female breast cancer treated withchemotherapy. “Of 810 eligible participants, 484 survivors (60% response rate)completed a postal questionnaire,” they wrote.
Responsesrevealed that 80% of the male participants reported receiving information abouttreatment impact on fertility and 68% on fertility preservation; 54% had bankedfrozen sperm. However, among women, 48% reported receiving information abouttreatment impact on fertility and 14% about fertility preservation. “Only sevenwomen (2%) underwent fertility preservation,” the investigators reported.
Predictors for receiving information about treatment impact on fertilitywere a pretreatment desire to have children (OR, 3.5), male sex (OR, 3.2), andbeing ≤35 years of age at diagnosis (OR, 2.0). Predictors for receivinginformation about fertility preservation included male sex (OR, 14.4), age≤35 at diagnosis (OR, 5.1), and having no children at diagnosis (OR, 2.5).
“Fertility-related information presented to young adult patientswith cancer must be improved to increase their opportunities to make informeddecisions regarding their treatment and their future reproductive ability,”they concluded. “In view of the complexity of fertility preservation for femalepatients, oncologists and hematologists should set aside extra time fordiscussing fertility issues with premenopausal women. In addition, closecollaboration between cancer clinics and reproductive centers may beadvantageous to safeguard reproductive health among patients with cancer.”
They also found that “only a few of the cancer survivors hadreceived written information, which can be an important tool in doctor-patientcommunication and a valuable supplement to verbal information, especiallybecause fertility-related information for women can be complicated.”