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Primary care providers (PCP) are often the sole health care provider for young men and women and often manage cancer screening and early detection. Additionally, two general medical care roles in the oncology setting often assumed by PCPs include managing comorbid conditions and evaluating and treating depression. Comorbid conditions and depression are common in cancer patients and survivors [2-4], therefore careful management is important as cancer patients with these conditions experience worse outcomes[2,5-6]. By managing comorbid conditions and depression in cancer patients, PCPs provide a key aspect of care not assumed by many cancer specialists.
Given the existing relationship, patients may be more comfortable discussing fertility preservation after a cancer diagnosis with their primary care provider. In fact, two qualitative studies have shown that patients want their PCP to be engaged in their cancer care[7-8], and according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), fertility preservation discussions should occur with all cancer patients of reproductive age before treatment starts when infertility is a potential risk of therapy. Discussions should address whether fertility preservation might have an impact on successful cancer treatment. Those interested in fertility preservation, including ambivalent patients, should be referred to reproductive specialists and the discussion documented in the medical record. Distress about potential infertility warrants a referral to a psychosocial provider.
The Oncofertility Consortium® provides a variety of oncofertility resources for primary care providers to assist with these discussions.
In addition to managing aspects of many patient's cancer care, PCPs play a vital role in providing health care to patients with non-malignant conditions (or treatments) which may impair fertility. Learn more about the non-malignant conditions (or treatments) which threaten fertility and available fertility preservation options.
Join The National Physicians Cooperative
Join the National Physicians Cooperative, a nationwide network of fertility preservation providers who share the common goal to protect and preserve reproductive health through the continuum of care of care and across the lifespan of patients.
National Physicians Cooperative Membership Benefits
- Access to a national referral network for patients seeking fertility preservation
- Information on how to establish a multidisciplinary Fertility Preservation program
- Training in the best practices, including technology updates and practice management
- Templates and assistance for obtaining IRB approval for participation in multicenter NPC studies
- Access to materials and tools as needed to support clinical studies
- Compensation for the time and materials required to freeze tissues for the research pool
- Invitations to Virtual Grand Rounds, annual meetings, special events
- Information about the financial aspects of fertility preservation
- Use of a Fertility Preservation Brochure tailored to your program
Implement a Fertility Preservation Program
The Oncofertility Consortium and National Physicians Cooperative provide resources to assist providers intereted in implementing a fertility preservation program.
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Stay up to date on fertility preservation news, research break-throughs, and publications.
The Decision Tool Web Portal is a library of existing oncofertility resources designed to help primary care providers navigate fertility preservation conversations. Available Resources include:
- Communication strategies for discussing fertility preservation options with patients of all ages and their family members
- Decision tools and aids designed to guide patient fertility preservation discussions
- ASCO and ASRM clinical guidelines and recommendations
- Information on existing and experimental fertility preservation techniques and technology
- Print and online patient educational resources
The Oncofertility Consortium® offers many educational resources for primary care providers in addition to our web portal, such as virtual grand rounds on pediatric and young adult survivorship issues, fertility preservation clinical information, and provider pocket guides.
To refer a patient for a fertility preservation consultation, call the Oncofertility Consortium® FERTline at 312-503-FERT or 866-708-FERT and print out this flyer to give to your patient.
The Oncofertility Consortium® works with many advocacy organizations and support groups to provide young cancer patients with support and assistance regarding fertility, reproductive health, and quality of life throughout survivorship.
Patients are often concerned about the cost of fertility preservation procedures. To learn more about oncofertility and insurance coverage, read Incorporating Insurance Education into the Fertility Preservation Process from Oncofertility Communication (2014) or check out the Oncofertility Consortium® blog post on Insurance Coverage for Fertility Preservation.
Do you have patients interested in fertility preservation and in need of financial aid? Fertile Action can help! Fertile Action offers financial aid for women with recent cancer diagnoses interested in fertility preservation. The advocacy organization provides additional financial information and resources, as well as online support groups for patients.
 Reich M. Depression and cancer: recent data on clinical issues, research challenges and treatment approaches. Curr Opin Oncol. 2008;20:353–9.
 Mao JJ, Armstrong K, Bowman MA, Xie SX, Kadakia R, Farrar JT. Symptom burden among cancer survivors: impact of age and comorbidity. J Am Board Fam Med. 2007;20:434–43.
 Smith AW, Reeve BB, Bellizzi KM, Harlan LC, Klabunde CN, Amsellem M, et al. Cancer, comorbidities, and health-related quality of life of older adults. Health Care Financ Rev. 2008;29:41–56.
 Lloyd-Williams M, Shiels C, Taylor F, Dennis M. Depression: an independent predictor of early death in patients with advanced cancer. J Affect Disord. 2009;113:127–32.
Hickner J, Kent S, Naragan P, Hunt L. Physicians’ and patients’ views of cancer care by family physicians: a report from the American Academy of Family Physicians National Research Network. Fam Med. 2007;39:126–31.