Women less informed on post-cancer fertility

Women less informed on post-cancer fertility

NEW YORK - Reuters
Cancer treatment can sometimes lead to infertility, but young women are far less likely than young men to be informed of this, according to a Swedish study.

Findings published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that of nearly 500 cancer survivors aged 18 to 45, 80 percent of men surveyed said their doctor had told them their chemotherapy could affect their future fertility.

But only 48 percent of women said the same. In addition, only 14 percent of women said they received information on options to preserve their fertility, versus 68 percent of men.

Preserving fertility is more complicated in women

The gap is likely related to the fact that preserving fertility is more complicated in women than men and techniques for doing so are not as widely available, said the researchers.

“Even in cases when fertility preservation could not be performed, patients and in particular, women, should be informed about their risk of decreased fertility and their risk of entering menopause prematurely,” senior researcher Claudia Lampic, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

Some chemotherapy drugs can damage a woman’s eggs or a man’s ability to produce normal sperm. Radiation therapy near the reproductive organs, or to the brain, can harm fertility, as can hormonal therapies for breast, prostate and other cancers.