Many Cancer Center Websites Lack Information on Fertility Preservation in Men

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Fertility preservation is often overlooked during counseling for cancer patients.
Fertility preservation is often overlooked during counseling for cancer patients.

Forty percent of National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Center websites do not discuss options for fertility preservation in men with cancer, and more than one-third do not mention the effects of cancer treatment on male fertility, according to research presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Annual Meeting.

Information about fertility preservation is often overlooked during counseling for cancer patients, but because of the increasing focus on oncofertility in cancer survivors, more education should be available to patients, researchers wrote in an abstract. 

Cindy Duke, MD, of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, Ali Dabaja, MD, of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and colleagues examined the websites of 62 NCI-Designated Cancer Centers in the United States and measured the quality and availability of education information. All of the designated cancer websites were queried based on patient information on oncofertility. 

The researchers used a rubric to assess content quality standard and 2 independent research teams validated the data on the websites. The rubric assessed whether the site discussed the effects of cancer treatment on male fertility, options for male fertility preservation, and parenting after surviving cancer.

The researchers found that 34% of the websites did not mention the male-specific fertility risks associated with cancer treatment. Eighty-four percent mentioned non-gender-specific fertility risks — 67% of which had a page on their websites dedicated to non-gender-specific oncofertility. 

Sixty percent of the websites included information on male-specific fertility preservation techniques like sperm cryopreservation. Information dedicated to parenting and family building after surviving cancer was available on 32% of the websites.

“There is still much work to be done to ensure patients understand and have access to fertility preserving treatments,” ASRM President Rebecca Sokol, MD, MPH, said in a press release.

“As cancer treatments continue to improve, more and more patients will want to be able to start families after their treatments.”

Reference

  1. Eleswarapu SV, de Haydu C, Klett D, Duke CM, Dabaja AA. Deficiency of Oncofertility Information for Men with Cancer: Content Analysis of NCI Designated Cancer Center Websites. Presented at: ASRM Annual Meeting; Oct. 17-21, 2015; Baltimore.
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