Long term follow-up of the reproductive outcome of cancer survivors is very important. The larger the data base feeding the follow-up studies, the more informative and accurate the conclusions will be. This will allow for better consultation to patients and their families. We do encourage you to complete this survey.
Dr. Hananel Holzer, attending physician, McGill Reproductive Centre
By Kate Waimey Timmerman, PH.D.
One out of 48 women will develop invasive cancer before age 40. Many young women will survive their cancer treatment and live long lives that include decisions on building a family. Currently, there is a lack of data on the long-term reproductive outcomes in young women after cancer treatment. Investigators at the Oncofertility Consortium
recently launched the first long-term study to investigate the reproductive impact of cancer treatments on women. The Fertility Information Research Study (FIRST)
is a registry project that will collect this information from and for female cancer survivors.
We are happy to announce that women who want to participate in science and help the next generation of cancer patients can now be a part of this study. Any woman between 18 and 44 who is less than three years from a cancer diagnosis or treatment can sign up for the study. Interested women can call the FERTLINE (866-708-FERT ) or contact the study team by email (email@example.com) to learn more about the study.
Participants will be asked to complete an online questionnaire yearly that will assess a variety of women’s health outcomes, from fertility to abnormal periods to premature menopause. This information will help researchers learn the scope of reproductive problems after cancer with just a few minutes of effort each year.
If you are a young woman who has had cancer or cancer treatment, or know women who are, please think about signing up for the FIRST Registry by calling the FERTLINE at 866-708-FERT (3378) or contacting the study team at firstname.lastname@example.org. With your help, we can help guide counseling and treatment of future young women.
By: Dr. Hananel Holzer, attending physician, McGill Reproductive Centre
Malignant diseases are still common but thanks to the tremendous efforts made by researchers and physicians survival rates continue to rapidly increase. Recent estimates indicate that 1 in 250 people are a cancer survivor but treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery can be detrimental to the fertility of a cancer survivor. Modern treatment protocols take this into consideration by trying to protect the future fertility of a patient but many survivors continue to suffer from premature gonadal failure immediately after treatments or later on in life, at a faster rate than would be expected without such treatments.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) have made major advances in the last few decades. These developments provide oncology patients more options for preserving their fertility and fertility potential. Unfortunately information transmission is not ideal. Currently, the oncologists who represent first-line specialists in treating patients with fertility issues may not be aware of advancements in ART that can enable a patient to preserve his or her fertility potential.
The main objective of the Cancer Knowledge Network’s oncofertility section is to build a bridge between the oncology and ART disciplines, which itself has become a new sub-speciality known as “oncofertility”.
Several options exist today to assist in the preservation of fertility. These options should be tailored according to a patient’s:
- Type of disease;
- Spread of disease;
- Planned treatment;
- Time available; and
- Whether or not a female patient has a partner.
The CKN oncofertility section will discuss the principles of fertility preservation while providing up-to-date information in this ever-evolving field.
We are working in collaboration with the Oncofertility Consortium to showcase pertinent information available to specialists, residents and the other health care providers. We will strive to publish information in a format that appeals to cancer patients and their caregivers, such as:
- Flowcharts for managing patients undergoing fertility preservation;
- Studies/research from Canadian institutes that offer fertility preservation programs;
- An interactive information system that will contain current clinical resources in Canada and will facilitate communication between users and the CKN;
- A consultation module which would provide an immediate/close to real-time consultation service to physicians; and
- A resource of up-to-date information for oncologists who are at the forefront of fertility treatments for cancer patients.
Since oncofertility is rapidly-evolving discipline and field of medicine, the information required by specialists may not differ much from that aimed at by residents. For that reason, we may combine the information we make available to residents and medical professionals. We may develop learning primers for residents and oncologist unfamiliar with this sub-speciality.
The CKN oncofertility section will encourage relevant stakeholders in the Canadian medical community and elsewhere to publish their research in the Current Oncology journal. I expect that the bridges built through the section will be fruitful and result in collaborative research projects.