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Optimizing Fertility Preservation Practices for Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Patients

Rebecca H. Johnson and Leah Kroon

Most adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer will survive their disease, and fertility issues are a major concern for this population. The ASCO and new NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology recommend that oncologists offer the option of fertility preservation to all postpubertal AYAs before the start of potentially gonadotoxic chemotherapy or radiotherapy, providing that the patient does not require emergent start of therapy. Despite the published practice guidelines, many AYAs diagnosed with cancer are still not offered fertility preservation, with oncologists citing lack of time, lack of knowledge, and discomfort in discussing fertility and sexuality with AYAs as reasons. Developing a systematic and coordinated multidisciplinary strategy for fertility preservation referrals within a practice site may streamline the referral process, off-loading some tasks from the oncologist and potentially increasing patient satisfaction, provider satisfaction, and compliance with the guidelines.