Yes! It’s certainly something that needs more advocacy, particularly as more and more young patients are diagnosed with cancer and hopefully cured from cancer. Not to mention the fact that more women are delaying childbearing, so the odds that a woman will be diagnosed with cancer before having children increases with that in mind.
I know that when we’ve referred patients to fertility clinics, they do expedite getting these patients in for consultation. However, it’s one more piece of the puzzle to make the circumstances even more complicated and overwhelming, not to mention being cost prohibitive for many.
And, the fact that so few fertility specialists actually specialize in the Oncology patient creates another barrier. We know that many ancillary providers are not familiar with newer oncolytics (IO, for example), so it’s possible that many fertility experts are not either. It’s scary to think about that, especially with an IO patient who has completed therapy in the adjuvant setting, for example. Just what could the long-term ramifications on carrying a pregnancy be? We all have a lot to learn.