Fertility counseling before cancer treatment and subsequent reproductive concerns among female adolescent and young adult cancer survivors

Katie Young, Ksenya Shliakhtsitsava, Loki Natarajan, Emily Myers, Andrew C. Dietz, Jessica R. Gorman, María Elena Martínez, Brian W. Whitcomb, H. Irene Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Fertility counseling before cancer treatment has been advocated by clinical guidelines, though little is known about its long-term impact on the unique reproductive concerns of female adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors. The goal of this study was to measure the association between fertility counseling by fertility specialists before cancer treatment and subsequent reproductive concerns. Method: A cross-sectional analysis was performed among 747 AYA survivors aged 18-40 years who had been recruited from cancer registries and physician and advocacy group referrals between 2015 and 2017. Participants self-reported information on past fertility counseling at cancer diagnosis, cancer type and treatment, and current reproductive concerns, as measured using the multidimensional Reproductive Concerns After Cancer scale. Multivariable log-binomial regression models tested associations between fertility counseling and reproductive concerns. Results: The mean age of the cohort was 33.0 years (standard deviation, 5.1 years), and the mean period since diagnosis was 7.7 years (standard deviation, 5.0 years). Seventy-three percent of participants were white, and 24% were Hispanic. Fertility counseling was reported by 19% of survivors; moderate to high overall reproductive concerns were reported by 44% of participants. In adjusted analysis, fertility counseling was significantly associated with moderate to high reproductive concerns (risk ratio, 1.22; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.45) and not modified by exposure to fertility-threatening treatments (P interaction =.23). Conclusion: A large proportion of AYA cancer survivors across cancer types and treatment exposures reported moderate to high reproductive concerns, suggesting that there is a need to address these cancer-specific reproductive health concerns after treatment. Higher concerns, even with counseling, suggests the need to improve the quality of fertility counseling throughout the cancer continuum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)980-989
Number of pages10
JournalCancer
Volume125
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019

Keywords

  • cancer
  • female
  • fertility counseling
  • fertility preservation
  • reproductive concerns
  • young adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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