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Fertility, sexuality and cancer in young adult women

Condorelli, Margheritaa; Lambertini, Matteob,c; Del Mastro, Luciac,d; Boccardo, Francescob,c; Demeestere, Isabellea; Bober, Sharon L.e,f

doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000000540
SUPPORTIVE CARE: Edited by Jean A. Klastersky

Purpose of review To provide an up-to-date overview on indications, efficacy and safety of the existing fertility preservation strategies as well as on the features and management of sexual dysfunction in young adult women with newly diagnosed cancer.

Recent findings Because of the improved life expectancy of cancer survivors, a growing attention should be given to the side effects of anticancer treatments. Among young cancer patients, risk of infertility and sexual dysfunction are of great concern.

Summary As advocated by guidelines, patients need to be thoroughly informed of potential side effects of treatment before starting them. On this regard, efforts should be made to improve the counseling of young adult patients around fertility and sexuality. Fertility preservation strategies should be properly and extensively explained to all young patients, weighting the pros and cons to choose the more appropriate options for each situation. In addition, discussing sexual dysfunction and delivering sexual rehabilitation for cancer survivors not only allows for renewal of sexual function but can also promote increased quality of life and help women create a new and satisfying chapter in their life for many years after cancer.

aFertility Clinic, CUB-Hôpital Erasme and Research Laboratory on Human Reproduction, Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.), Brussels, Belgium

bDepartment of Medical Oncology, U.O.C. Clinica di Oncologia Medica, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino

cDepartment of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties (DiMI), School of Medicine, University of Genova

dDepartment of Medical Oncology, U.O. Sviluppo Terapie Innovative, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genova, Italy

eFertility Clinic for a Sexual Health Program, Center for Cancer Prevention and Genetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

fHarvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Matteo Lambertini, MD, PhD, IRCCS Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, University of Genova, Largo Rosanna Benzi 10, 16132 Genova, Italy. Tel: +39 010 555 4254; fax: +39 010 555 6536; e-mail:

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