In today's San Francisco Chronicle, Erin Allday is reporting on experts' belief that chemotherapy has a greater impact on fertility than previously suspected - and that female cancer patients should be given the option to freeze their eggs or embryos before undergoing treatment:
Infertility is increasingly being addressed soon after a woman is diagnosed with cancer, but gaps still exist in the accuracy of information given to patients and how much access they're given to procedures like egg- and embryo-freezing that could help them preserve their ability to become pregnant later, [UCSF's Dr. Mitchell Rosen] and other fertility experts said.
"I don't think that everyone who has cancer needs to have fertility preservation," Rosen said. "But they need to be counseled and look at whether this is a possibility for them and whether they want to do it."
"Especially young patients who are otherwise healthy, many of them have very good life expectancy after treatment, and they want to be able to think past their cancer," said Dr. Lynn Westphal, a reproductive endocrinologist at Stanford. "For many patients, (fertility) is a key quality of life issue."
Allday also discusses a recent UCSF study showing that receiving pre-treatment infertility counseling led to greater post-treatment quality of life for cancer patients.