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Young cancer patients should be encouraged to consider fertility preservation options

Health professionals caring for young people with cancer should initiate discussions about fertility preservation options, especially with female patients, new study results suggest.

Researchers from Seattle Children’s Hospital in Washington, United States, looked at 459 adolescents and young adults who were diagnosed with cancer in 2007 or 2008.

Although more than 70% of those studied reported being told that cancer treatment could affect their fertility, male patients were more than twice as likely as females to report that fertility preservation options were discussed.

Female patients were half as likely to have discussed fertility preservation

Picture credit: Jupiter

The researchers also found that women were significantly less likely to report having made arrangements for fertility preservation – 6.8% compared with around 30% of males. Around half of the women said that this was because of access issues.

Lead study author Margarett Shnorhavorian, from the University of Washington, said: ‘Cancer healthcare providers and fertility experts need to develop strategies that increase awareness of fertility preservation options and decrease delays in cancer therapy, as fertility preservation for adolescent and young adult cancer patients improves.’

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