It is estimated that 10% of all cancer diagnoses are made in patients during reproductive years. Cancer treatments can cause permanent loss of fertility, but patients may not be educated on currently available means of protecting fertility prior to cancer treatments. Researchers from Oxford Brookes University address the issue in a study published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Research was completed in the United Kingdom after research in the United States revealed a lapse in education pertaining to fertility preservation among US oncologists. Based on a study of 100 UK oncologists, most felt fertility preservation was an issue mostly dealt with by female patients. However, oncologists most often admitted they knew more about sperm preservation than female fertility preservation options.

Less than 40% of UK oncologists reported giving written information to patients about reproductive preservation and less than 33% reported referring patients of reproductive age to a fertility specialist despite these patients asking questions about fertility. Among the reasons listed for why oncologists did not assume a more active role in fertility preservation were lack of knowledge about fertility preservation options, lack of time and belief that fertility preservation options were not effective.

Source: Adams E, Hill E, Watson E. Fertility preservation in cancer survivors: a national survey of oncologists' current knowledge, practice and attitudes. Br J Cancer. 2013 Apr 11. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.139.