Communicating about infertility risks
Infertility is a consequence of many cancer diagnoses and/or treatments for both male and female patients. This is particularly true for those who require cancer treatment comprised of high-dose chemotherapy, combination chemotherapy, radiation therapy to the pelvis, and/or surgical removal of the reproductive organs as part of their cancer treatment. While the issues of prognosis, survival, and treatment regimen decisions initially generally assume prime importance, the communication of risk information regarding fertility is usually presented in the context of other potential cancer treatment side effects. Parenthood for many cancer patients is a fundamental goal of cancer survivorship. Studies documenting the attitudes of young cancer survivors have revealed that parenthood is viewed as a positive experience. This chapter discusses the reproductive options for cancer survivors and outcomes for patients and families resulting from communication.
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