Language barriers in medicine is an ongoing challenge as medical information is typically delivered in English while the US Census Bureau indicates that approximately 21% of the population speaks a language other than English at home. While the language barrier seems simple to overcome, adapting information in a way that is sensitive to language and cultural differences can be very expensive and resource-intensive. Fertility preservation is such a complex field, with overlap between medicine, embryology and statistics that much is literally 'lost in translation' when communicating information to non-English speakers. While waiting for access to adapted fertility preservation documents and websites geared towards different languages and cultures, clinicians do the best they can with the information available to them while remaining sensitive to unique cultural beliefs about cancer and treatment choices.
One way for clinicians to assist their patients in understanding information is to provide educational materials for review at home. Educational materials geared towards lower level literacy are paramount in successful retention of information; especially in institutions that do not have a dedicated fertility preservation patient navigator to help the patient and family through their journey. In addition to hard copy documents that clinicians will physically hand to the patient, Chapter 2 outlines methods for improving online access to similar educational materials by suggesting that websites 'layer content' which increases usability of the sites by allowing users at various literacy levels to utilize the site in a way and at a pace that is appropriate.
The contents of the Oncofertility Consortium Blog are for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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