Call for better cancer fertility take care of young women
The take care of younger women needing cancer treatment that could damage their probabilities of having children must be improved, researchers say.
A study of 290 young patients inside the UK showed fertility was frequently not discussed before treatment.
Writing within the journal Pediatric Blood and Cancer, researchers also highlighted issues of the way in which the difficulty was approached by doctors.
The Teenage Cancer Trust said doctors had an obligation to tell patients.
Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can severely damage a person’s sperm or eggs and should leave the patient unable to have children.
Freezing a man’s sperm before treatment is comparatively easy, and the young men within the study were largely proud of how their future fertility was handled.
However, collecting and storing eggs is more difficult and is typically impossible if treatment should start immediately.
The researchers on the University of Sheffield and The Children’s Hospital within the city interviewed people in 2011 who have been diagnosed with cancer between the ages of 13 and 22. The implications were compared with patients having a similar treatment in 2004.
In both groups, about two-thirds of girls could remember actually having a discussion concerning the impact on their chance of kids and the way their fertility may be preserved.
In 2004, the conversation happened after treatment had already started 62% of the time. In 2011 this improved to 31% of cases, the study said.
It also suggested that the majority younger women were unhappy with the style the doctors cited the problem and there has been no clear improvement between 2004 and 2011.
Dr Allan Pacey, from the University of Sheffield, said fertility preservation was often not a practical option if cancer treatment had to start immediately.
He told the BBC: “It is a really stressful time and oncologists are doing a great job, however the words doctors use might possibly be either quite sensitive or insensitive.
“We’ve changed practice, but we haven’t got any better at helping these women.”
Dr Dan Yeomanson, a expert paediatric oncologist for Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said the study highlighted important gaps inside the care of teenagers and teens with cancer.
He said: “This study highlights the necessity to discuss fertility issues with young patients, especially females, before treatment begins even supposing there aren’t any options available for fertility preservation.
“Given the wealth of knowledge that should accept before treatment begins, you can actually see why fertility issues are often not handled in addition to they can be.”
About 2,100 children aged 15-24 are diagnosed with cancer once a year inside the UK.
Simon Davies, the executive executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust charity, said: “Adolescents have a fundamental right to be made privy to the fertility problems cancer treatments may cause.
“Fertility is something many teens won’t also have considered yet and it’s incredibly important that these issues are discussed and that each one options are understood.
“Health professionals have an obligation to provide clear information regarding the entire long run effects of treatments and hopefully this work may help keep this front of mind for those working with youngsters with cancer.”