Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 146–155

Discussion of fertility preservation with newly diagnosed patients: oncologists’ views

  • Gwendolyn P. Quinn
  • Susan T. Vadaparampil
  • Clement K. Gwede
  • Cheryl Miree
  • Lindsey M. King
  • Heather B. Clayton
  • Crystal Wilson
  • Pamela Munster
Article

Abstract

Introduction

Although physician discussion with patients regarding fertility preservation (FP) options prior to cancer treatment can provide important information for survivors concerning their future fertility, little is known about the extent to which physicians discuss FP with patients. This qualitative study sought to identify current physician FP communication practices and determine factors that may impact communication efforts regarding FP.

Materials and methods

Qualitative data were collected using semi structured interviews with 16 physicians practicing at a major cancer center in the South.

Results

All providers were board certified in medical oncology, radiation oncology or surgical oncology. The main factors that emerged from qualitative analysis included distinct variations in quality of discussion about FP, knowledge of FP resources, attitudes, practice behaviors and perceptions of patient characteristics.

Discussion

While most physicians discussed potential fertility loss as a side effect of cancer treatment, few provided information to patients about preserving fertility. Patient characteristics such as gender and cancer site may impact the discussion, as well as system factors such as costs of procedures and access to FP resources. Education and training for physicians about FP options for cancer patients, particularly females, may promote discussion of FP. In addition, system barriers related to availability and affordability of FP resources must also be addressed.

Implications for cancer survivors

Physicians should consider providing patients with timely, understandable information related to their FP options, prior to the administration of treatment. Such discussions may lead to improved quality of life for individuals as they transition from patients to survivors.

Keywords

Fertility preservation Survivorship Patient–physician communication Qualitative research 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwendolyn P. Quinn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Susan T. Vadaparampil
    • 1
    • 2
  • Clement K. Gwede
    • 1
    • 2
  • Cheryl Miree
    • 2
  • Lindsey M. King
    • 2
    • 3
  • Heather B. Clayton
    • 2
    • 3
  • Crystal Wilson
    • 2
  • Pamela Munster
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology, College of MedicineUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, Health Outcomes and BehaviorH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research InstituteTampaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  4. 4.Comprehensive Breast ProgramH. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research InstituteTampaUSA
  5. 5.Experimental Therapeutics, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research InstituteTampaUSA

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