The study found that factors such as gender, education, and insurance status may impact whether patients and their physicians have discussions and take actions to preserve fertility during cancer treatment. Margarett Shnorhavorian, MD, MPH, FAAP, FACS, of the University of Washington, Seattle Children's Hospital, and her colleagues asked 459 adolescents and young adults who were diagnosed with cancer in 2007 or 2008 to complete questionnaires.
More than 70 percent of the patients reported being told that treatment may affect their fertility; however, male patients were more than twice as likely as female patients to report that fertility preservation options were discussed. Most striking, almost one-third of males reported making arrangements for fertility preservation, which was four to five times higher than the rate seen in females.
The investigators also found that between 2007 and 2008, males and females both reported an increase in discussions regarding the impact of cancer therapy on fertility and fertility preservation options. It was also revealed that the discussion and action surrounding fertility preservation may be linked with medical factors, patient socioeconomic status, and child-rearing status.
Also, among males, those without a college degree, those who lacked private insurance, and those who were raising children were more likely to not make fertility preservation arrangements; too few females had made fertility preservation arrangements for similar analyses. The study is published online in a peer-reviewed journal CANCER