Fertility focus: breaking the taboo

The importance of normalising conversations about fertility with the 2,500 young people who are diagnosed with cancer. 

The importance of nurses normalising conversations about fertility when talking with young people who are diagnosed with cancer.

In the UK, around 2,500 young people are diagnosed with cancer each year and around 15% of them have a high risk of future fertility problems. Their specialist needs and support in terms of fertility are often overlooked.

Young people who are being treated for cancer will often require chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery, and sometimes a mix of all three. Once this level of intensive treatment has started, there is little that can be done to minimise any effects on fertility. It is therefore essential that preservation procedures are discussed and undertaken before treatment begins to give every young person the best future chances of fertility.

For young males, it is now common practice at most centres to refer them to the local


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