Jane Brody wrote an article that appeared in the New York Times today about family planning and cancer. She cites the fertility stories of several cancer patients and quotes Dr. Jacqueline Jeruss and Teresa Woodruff from the Oncofertility Consortium and their report from the New England Journal of Medicine (read it here: Preservation of Fertility in Patients with Cancer).
The New York Times article underlines the importance communication plays in educating patients and their families about fertility options. The first story Brody tells is of the mother of a boy with Hodgkin’s disease who finds out from a perfect stranger that cancer treatment would make her son infertile – and the doctors hadn’t warned them.
Brody also recounts the story of a 32-year old woman who was diagnosed with stage 3 rectal cancer. It was her family members who alerted her to the side effects of the treatments – her doctor failed to mention anything either.
Brody’s article points out that fertility issues are still being neglected, especially when the cancer patient is young. But with more awareness, people may be able to delay treatment in certain cases to allow for the harvesting of eggs or sperm.
But cancer patients who are looking for fertility-preserving options face a time challenge: clinics dealing with fertility often have long waits and time is not something the patients can afford, Brody says in her article.
The New York Times article also talks specifically about the Oncofertility Consortium, stating that it is funded by the NIH. Brody also outlines the consortium’s goals.
You can read the article here: Family Planning When Cancer Intrudes.