Inadequate fertility advice for young women with breast cancer

A new survey by UK charity Breast Cancer Care has highlighted the unacceptable lack of information and inadequate fertility advice and support given to young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The survey, which recorded the experiences of 170 women under the age of 45, suggests that only 12% of the group were offered a referral to a fertility expert to discuss their long-term fertility and pregnancy options. This shockingly low figure could mean that as many as 5,000 young breast cancer patients are missing out on vital fertility information and guidance before, during and after treatment has taken place.

Without speaking to a fertility specialist, many of this number are likely to be unaware of the potential damage that chemotherapy can cause to the ovaries during a treatment cycle. Chemotherapy can stop the normal function of the ovaries and reduce the number of good quality eggs available, and depending on the specific drugs administered and the age of the patient, can even bring on an early menopause.

Breast Cancer Care also highlighted the lack of a dedicated referral system for young women undergoing treatment, and the charity has called for fertility options to be discussed with patients at the point of diagnosis.

If you or a loved one are undergoing, or have undergone, chemotherapy treatment but have not been given the opportunity to discuss your fertility options with a specialist, then give us a call to arrange an appointment. We’re here to help.

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