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Discussing Fertility Preservation with Oncology Patients

Oncologists have much to discuss with their patients when someone is newly diagnosed with cancer. They are often facing patients who are overwhelmed and scared. They might be facing parents of children or teens with a myriad of questions and concerns.

How and when should an oncologist let the patient know about infertility risk associated with their cancer treatment?

Successful fertility preservation programs like the one at Northwestern University integrated a referral mechanism into their electronic medical records system. An oncologist at their cancer center can’t close out the patient’s record until answering brief questions regarding their conversation about fertility risk and subsequent referral to a reproductive endocrinologist. It’s a great model other cancer centers are following like at the University of Colorado Denver.

But, what about the oncology centers not connected to a hospital or to a reproductive endocrinologist? Do we need to streamline the oncology-patient-referral process to remove the burden of responsibility from the oncologists or should we expect the oncologists to have referrals to sperm banks and reproductive endocrinologists in hand like breast surgeons do with reconstructive surgeons?

We would love to hear your opinion on the topic. Email or call 310-443-5244 x 1183.

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