The unmet need for oncofertility preservation in women: Results of a survey by different oncological specialists in Lazio, Italy

Alessandra Fabi, Gaetano Lanzetta, Enrico Vizza, Domenico Corsi, Luca Moscetti, Giampaolo Spinelli, Lucia Mentuccia, Maurizio Lalle, Maria Perrone, Linda Baiocco, Chiara Falcicchio, Annalisa Milani, Diana Giannarelli, Francesco Cognetti, Patrizia Pugliese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In recent years, we have witnessed a growing interest in the prevention of the loss of reproductive efficacy in young women as a result of cancer or its treatments. Indeed, recent studies have shown that loss of fertility impacts deeply on young women and sometimes may be even more stressful than the cancer diagnosis itself. In fact, the risk of treatment-associated infertility and premature menopause is a major concern for patients. Nevertheless, the approach to fertility preservation in women diagnosed with cancer is far from being standardized, and counseling strategies are poorly adopted in clinical practice. In Italy, the federal structure of public health makes it difficult to refer patients to local referral centers experienced in fertility preservation. In particular, a need exists to identify oncologists in the Lazio region specialized in fertility preservation and those facilities who are able to counsel patients regarding their sexuality. For these reasons, the Lazio section of Italian Association of Medical Oncology has led an oncofertility and oncosexuality survey to assess deficiencies in the path to start fertility preservation procedures and to help patients with cancer-related sexual problems. In total, 273 healthcare providers participated in the survey. Overall, the participants had a low interest in their patients’ infertility problems, which led to a poor referral of patients to fertility preservation centers. This behavior demonstrated by healthcare providers is attributed to the necessity to rapidly start oncological treatments, the lack of knowledge of referral centers, and the little experience in tackling the subject with the patients. The interviewees also recognize communication difficulties related to lack of information on issues, absence of rehabilitations paths, and embarrassment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100479
JournalCurrent Problems in Cancer
Volume43
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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Keywords

  • Oncofertility
  • Ovarian tissue preservation
  • Young cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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