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Too Few Oncologists Offer Information on Fertility Preservation
Cancer treatment can impair fertility, but fewer than half of patients have adequate information about fertility preservation methods or realize that there may be a limited time in which to pursue preservation options, said Gwendolyn Quinn, PhD, at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
In 2006, ASCO developed guidelines for oncologists to address fertility preservation with patients, recommending that they be prepared to discuss options or refer patients of childbearing age for fertility preservation counseling. Dr Quinn reported on the results of a national survey of physician practice patterns that sought to discover whether oncologists were following these guidelines. The survey was mailed to a random sample of 1979 oncologists, with 613 respondents.
Although 60% of oncologists reported an awareness of the ASCO guidelines, less than 25% of the respondents say they follow them on a regular basis, distribute any type of educational materials, or refer patients for fertility preservation discussions.