All cancer patients of reproductive age should be provided with fertility information and referrals for fertility preservation. A new Psycho-Oncology analysis of the published literature indicates that many cancer patients are not receiving such support, however.
In the analysis of 23 relevant studies, investigators found that many clinicians are broadly informed about the risk to their patients' fertility brought about by cancer treatment, but many factors hinder the appropriate discussions and referrals needed to provide adequate fertility support to patients of reproductive age. For example, some oncology clinicians may lack appropriate fertility knowledge and be unsure whose role it is to provide fertility support.
"Impaired fertility brought about by cancer treatment leads to long-term psychological distress and lowered quality of life for cancer patients of a reproductive age. As such, it is paramount that clinicians are able to deliver oncofertility services to the standard of best practice guidelines, to assist in lowering long term distress," said Dr. Shanna Logan, lead author of the article. "However, as the results of this review indicate, oftentimes oncofertilty related services are not delivered to the standard required or in line with patient's needs. Moving forward, the results of this review will be utilised to aid in the development of an international competency framework, to better assist clinicians in providing necessary oncofertility care in the future."