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Teenagers with cancer need access to fertility preservation services, urges nurse expert

Valerie Peddie has emphasised the lack of fertility knowledge among young people with cancer
Discussing fertility with teenagers

A leading fertility nurse has said teenagers with cancer must be offered access to fertility preservation services.

At the RCN International Centenary Conference in London today, Valerie Peddie, senior charge nurse and fertility specialist at Aberdeen Centre for Reproductive Medicine, will highlight the lack of fertility knowledge among young people with cancer.

Speaking ahead of the conference, she said: For so long, cancer treatment has focused on one thing survival. But while this will always be the priority, we have progressed to a point where many patients have the time to explore their options and think about life after cancer.

Deciding whether to have children is a central part of many lives, and no one should be denied this opportunity because they were unaware of their options.

Teenage patients are

A leading fertility nurse has said teenagers with cancer must be offered access to fertility preservation services.


Teenage girls with cancer often do not receive fertility advice. Picture: iStock

At the RCN International Centenary Conference in London today, Valerie Peddie, senior charge nurse and fertility specialist at Aberdeen Centre for Reproductive Medicine, will highlight the lack of fertility knowledge among young people with cancer.

Speaking ahead of the conference, she said: ‘For so long, cancer treatment has focused on one thing – survival. But while this will always be the priority, we have progressed to a point where many patients have the time to explore their options and think about life after cancer.

‘Deciding whether to have children is a central part of many lives, and no one should be denied this opportunity because they were unaware of their options.

‘Teenage patients are unlikely to have even considered their future fertility or know it could be affected by their cancer treatment. Therefore it is essential that these issues are raised and discussed by healthcare staff.’

Gender gap

Males are routinely offered sperm banking services, but research shows that few teenage girls are given the opportunity to discuss their fertility options before treatment because the process is more complicated.

The RCN is producing guidelines to help manage the fertility of people who have delayed having children, either through choice or illness and treatment. The college said inconsistency in the management of patients diagnosed with cancer means that many survivors face fertility loss, and its guidance will promote more equal access to services. 


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