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.
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Rebecca H. Johnson and Leah Kroon
Peter F. Coccia, Jessica Altman, Smita Bhatia, Scott C. Borinstein, Joseph Flynn, Suzanne George, Robert Goldsby, Robert Hayashi, Mary S. Huang, Rebecca H. Johnson, Lynda Kwon Beaupin, Michael P. Link, Kevin C. Oeffinger, Kathleen M. Orr, Alberto S. Pappo, Damon Reed, Holly L. Spraker, Deborah A. Thomas, Margaret von Mehren, Daniel S. Wechsler, Kimberly F. Whelan, Bradley J. Zebrack, Hema Sundar, and Dorothy A. Shead
Cancer is the leading cause of death among the adolescent and young adult (AYA) population, excluding homicide, suicide, or unintentional injury. AYA patients should be managed by a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals who are well-versed in the specific developmental issues relevant to this patient population. The recommendations for age-appropriate care outlined in these NCCN Guidelines include psychosocial assessment, a discussion of infertility risks associated with treatment and options for fertility preservation, genetic and familial risk assessment for all patients after diagnosis, screening and monitoring of late effects in AYA cancer survivors after successful completion of therapy, and palliative care and end-of-life considerations for patients for whom curative therapy fails.
Peter F. Coccia, Alberto S. Pappo, Jessica Altman, Smita Bhatia, Scott C. Borinstein, Joseph Flynn, A. Lindsay Frazier, Suzanne George, Robert Goldsby, Robert Hayashi, Mary S. Huang, Rebecca H. Johnson, Lynda Kwon Beaupin, Michael P. Link, Kevin C. Oeffinger, Kathleen M. Orr, Damon Reed, Holly L. Spraker, Deborah A. Thomas, Margaret von Mehren, Daniel S. Wechsler, Kimberly F. Whelan, Brad Zebrack, Dorothy A. Shead, and Hema Sundar
The NCCN Guidelines Insights on Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology discuss the fertility and endocrine issues that are relevant to the management of AYA patients with cancer. Fertility preservation should be an essential part in the treatment of AYA patients with cancer. The NCCN Guidelines recommend discussion of fertility preservation and contraception before the start of treatment. Oophoropexy and embryo cryopreservation are the 2 established options for fertility preservation in women. Semen cryopreservation before the start of treatment is the most reliable and well-established method of preserving fertility in men. AYA women with cancer also have unique contraception needs, depending on the type of cancer, its treatment, and treatment-related complications. Management of cancer during pregnancy poses significant diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for both the patient and the physician. AYA women diagnosed with cancer during pregnancy require individualized treatment from a multidisciplinary team involving medical, surgical, radiation, and gynecologic oncologists; obstetricians; and perinatologists.