The top priority for many people who are diagnosed with cancer is merely beating the disease and coming out on the other end being able to enjoy life to its fullest. During the initial rush to formulate a game plan that will enhance the likelihood of a positive outcome, few stop to think about their options in regard to fertility. Making sure patients are aware of the risks and rewards of different treatments and steps they can take to preserve family chances down the road is very important to overall patient satisfaction. A new study, in fact, shows that patients who receive straightforward information about treatments and fertility tend to rate their overall experience higher.
The study in question involved surveys that were given to several hundred patients, both male and female, before and after the start of a cancer and fertility program. Those taking part were, on average, about two years out from their diagnosis. Researchers found there was a rather glaring difference in satisfaction levels among some of the patients. Male patients, the study found, were overall rather satisfied with the information they received about sperm banking options and how to find banks, especially those in the group surveyed after the program launched. Women also displayed much higher satisfaction in the post-program group.
Ultimately, researchers say the surveys showed there is a strong need for clinicians to carefully explain treatments and their potential impacts on fertility to patients of childbearing age. In addition, reviewing options for fertility preservation is also critical. Patients tend to feel better about their treatments and what to expect when they are informed about what is likely to happen and how they can take steps to maintain their ability to have a family down the road.
People who are diagnosed with cancer are urged to take a pause and speak with their healthcare providers about all treatment options. If having a family down the road is important, be sure to ask about potential impacts on fertility. In some cases, it is possible to successfully battle cancer and preserve fertility. In others, taking steps such as sperm banking might keep the doors open to fertility later in life. Regardless, patients have a right to be informed about their treatments, the risks and potential benefits, and all of their family planning options. A diagnosis of cancer does not necessarily mean having to give up hopes of someday having a family.