When a cancer diagnosis is made, we as providers do everything possible to start treatment immediately. Often times we can overlook the value of reproductive health counseling, as we are focusing on providing swift interventions. Under certain circumstances it’s possible to delay starting treatment so the patient can explore fertility options. Under other circumstances treatment initiation can’t be delayed. In those instances we must provide information about fertility after cancer treatment and allow patients to explore fertility options when treatment completes.
As providers we must be mindful that the discussions should begin as close to diagnosis as possible. It’s believed that these discussions should also occur regardless of whether the treatment will affect fertility. Klosky notes that inclusion of fertility topic as part of patients’ treatment plan can alleviate concerns about infertility, encourage safe sex practices during treatment and promote future discussions. In addition, it’s important to realize that when patients lose their fertility it can lead to psychological distress which includes grief, depression, anxiety, anger, frustration and regret.
Some topics of discussion include contraception during treatment, sexuality for both males and females, ethical/legal concerns and even adoption and surrogacy. It’s important to recognize . . .