Improving referral rate of female cancer patients to reproductive endocrinology
MetadataShow full item record
BACKGROUND: There are currently an estimated 250,000 female cancer survivors of reproductive age living in the US. Loss of fertility is an issue many cancer survivors face after treatment, as all forms of cancer therapy can cause infertility. Methods to preserve fertility can be initiated prior to cancer therapy. These methods include embryo cryopreservation, oocyte cryopreservation, fertility sparing surgery, ovarian tissue cryopreservation, ovarian transposition, and medical therapy. LITERATURE REVIEW: Although the clinical guidelines state that oncologists should discuss the risk of infertility with every patient of reproductive age and should refer every patient who is interested in or ambivalent towards fertility preservation to reproductive endocrinologists, studies have shown that a significant proportion of female cancer patients report never receiving information about fertility. Even fewer female cancer patients are referred to reproductive endocrinologists for further discussion and/or potential treatment. PROPOSED PROJECT: Oncologists at Boston Medical Center will be recruited to participate in a study that measures the effect of an educational intervention on referral rate to reproductive endocrinology. The knowledge gained from the intervention will be assessed with a pre- and post-test. The proportion of female patients age 18-45 referred to reproductive endocrinology will be evaluated through the Electronic Medical Record System. The correlation between knowledge gain and change in referral rates will also be assessed. CONCLUSION: Fertility after cancer treatment is an essential issue to consider for young cancer survivors. These patients benefit from being referred to reproductive endocrinologists so that they can get information about fertility preservation and undergo treatment in a timely fashion. Improving and/or reinforcing oncologist knowledge about this topic will increase the rate at which they initiate this conversation and therefore the number of female patients who are referred to reproductive endocrinology. SIGNIFICANCE: Providing female cancer patients with information about and opportunities to undergo fertility preservation will maximize their options. This will lead to a higher quality of life after cancer therapy.