Gender gap in fertility info for young people with cancer

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Infertility can be a serious side effect of cancer treatment. There are increasing numbers of people of reproductive age undergoing these types of treatment and for them, fertility preservation is key. It appears that men and women are receiving different perspectives and information on fertility preservation.

The new study led by the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian is the first study to look at the experience of discussing future fertility at the time of diagnosis and comparing the experience of men and women.

Patients were interviewed soon after their initial consultation regarding the diagnosis of cancer. Interview topics included patients’ understanding of the initial diagnosis; their prognosis and future reproductive choices; perceived quality of information received, communication and support; and the role of partners, family members, friends and healthcare professionals.

They also interviewed healthcare staff and asked if they were satisfied with the information given to younger people with cancer, their knowledge of the treatments available for fertility preservation and the perception of the patients’ priorities.

While both men and women received written information about the cancer diagnosis, there was only a small section regarding fertility. Both were given appropriate information regarding options available and success rates.

Men, however, were actively encouraged to preserve sperm regardless of whether or not they already had children. Few women could remember fertility preservation being discussed.

“Our study has demonstrated significant gaps in the information provided to young women diagnosed with cancer and suggests the need for an early appointment with a fertility expert,” stated Valerie Peddie, Fertility Nurse Specialist, University of Aberdeen.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, University of Aberdeen


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