Fertility Preservation: Less Than Half of Patients Are Told About

By Dr. Charles Balch

Fertility is an important quality of life issue for cancer patients of child-bearing age. Some types of cancer treatments (especially certain forms of chemotherapy and with radiation to the pelvis) can impair fertility. Such patients may benefit from referral to a reproduction specialist before they start their cancer treatment. Unfortunately, the majority of studies show that less than half of eligible cancer patients actually receive this information and thus are rendered infertile (sterile) for the remainder of their life. One can understand that at the onset of a cancer diagnosis that the primary focus is on a life-threatening situation. The dilemma comes later, when patients are actually enjoying a long-term life and these survivorship issues then become paramount.

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