Women Not Often Informed of Fertility Threat From Treatment


Swedish researchers have reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that men are far more likely to be informed of the risk of infertility posed by anti-cancer treatments than women, and that men are also more likely to be given information about options regarding fertility preservation.

The investigators, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, reached their conclusions after receiving mailed questionnaires from 484 cancer survivors between the ages of 18 and 45. They found that four out of five men, or 80 percent, were informed that the chemotherapy regimen they were facing presented a threat to their fertility.

Meanwhile, only 48 percent of women said they were similarly informed. On top of that, just 14 percent of women said they were told about the options available for fertility preservation, compared to 68 percent of men.

Fertility preservation and the methods involved are much more complicated and much more expensive for women than they are for men. Researchers suggested that this helps to explain the disparity in the reported numbers, but hardly justifies it.

Of those that responded to the questionnaire, 54 percent of men went ahead and banked sperm to preserve some fertility. By way of comparison, just two percent of women underwent fertility preservation.

Researchers concluded, "There is an urgent need to develop fertility-related information adapted to female patients with cancer to improve their opportunities to participate in informed decisions regarding their treatment and future reproductive ability."

Source: JCO

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