ASCO recently issued an update to its guideline on fertility preservation for people living with cancer, as well as two videos jointly produced with the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Both the guideline and videos are intended to raise awareness and understanding of this important area of cancer care.
Clarifications Added to Guideline
The guideline, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, is an update to recommendations originally published in 2006 and is based on a review of the evidence published since then. The guideline panel concluded that no major, substantive revisions to the 2006 ASCO recommendations were warranted, but clarifications were added. Specifically, the guideline further emphasizes that all oncology professionals should discuss the risk of infertility and fertility preservation options with patients with cancer in advance of their treatment.
Although cancer treatment may impact fertility in both men and women, fertility preservation is frequently possible. Despite this, fertility preservation is one of the least implemented services for young adults with cancer and many practices are currently falling short on discussing the risks of infertility and fertility preservation options. A recent analysis of self-reported data from ASCO’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) from 2006 to 2010 found that in a given collection round, practices documented fertility preservation options discussion or referral to specialist for as few as 6% of patients of reproductive age.
Videos and Clinical Resources
To help raise awareness on this important issue, ASCO and the LIVESTRONG Foundation worked together to produce two videos outlining the importance of discussing fertility preservation with patients. One video focuses on male fertility preservation; the other on female fertility preservation. The videos will be available on ASCO’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/ascocancer.
The guideline, videos, and additional clinical tools and resources can all be found at: www.asco.org/guidelines/fertility.
In addition, there are courses that address fertility preservation in young men and women on ASCO University. The courses include practical case presentations based on real experiences and expert discussion, as well as access key references and resources. They can be found at: university.asco.org/focus-under-forty. ■
© 2013. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.