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Cancer and fertility

optimizing communication between patients and healthcare providers

Shen, Shiyang; Zelkowitz, Phyllis; Rosberger, Zeev

Current Opinion in Supportive and Palliative Care: March 2019 - Volume 13 - Issue 1 - p 53–58
doi: 10.1097/SPC.0000000000000413
COMMUNICATION IN CANCER: ITS IMPACT ON THE EXPERIENCE OF CANCER CARE: Edited by Elie Isenberg-Grzeda and Janet Ellis
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Purpose of review This article reviews the status of guidelines and recommendations for communication between patients with cancer and healthcare providers (HCPs) concerning fertility issues.

Recent findings The timing, the type of information provided, and the openness of HCPs can all affect how patients with cancer perceive discussions regarding fertility concerns and preservation. In addition, whether such discussions occur is associated with intrinsic factors, such as age and sex of the patients as well as HCP's knowledge level. It has also been found that the patients have different needs for information regarding fertility preservation and preferences for types of communication strategies regarding the impact of their disease and treatments on options for family planning.

Summary Although discussions about fertility concerns in the context of cancer between physicians and patients are occurring more frequently, there are inconsistent findings regarding satisfaction with these discussions. Recent research has found that the timing, type of information given, and level of openness of the HCP can impact how patients perceive communications regarding the risks of cancer treatment on fertility preservation options and future family planning. Age, sex, and HCP's knowledge of fertility risks and fertility preservation services are also notable factors associated with whether and how extensively discussions about fertility take place. More women than men report having a fertility discussion with an HCP. However, men are more likely to report satisfaction with the fertility discussion than women.

Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital and McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Correspondence to Zeev Rosberger, PhD, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital, 4333 Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3T 1E4, Canada. Tel: +514 340 8222; ext 24215; fax: +514 340 8124; e-mail: zeev.rosberger@mcgill.ca

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