Purpose: The aim was to investigate male and female cancer survivors' perception of fertility-related information and use of fertility preservation (FP) in connection with cancer treatment during reproductive age.
Methods: The study sample consisted of cancer survivors diagnosed from 2003 to 2007 identified in population-based registers in Sweden. Inclusion criteria included survivors who were age 18 to 45 years at diagnosis and had lymphoma, acute leukemia, testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, or female breast cancer treated with chemotherapy. Of 810 eligible participants, 484 survivors (60% response rate) completed a postal questionnaire.
Results: The majority of male participants reported having received information about treatment impact on fertility (80%) and FP (68%), and more than half of the men banked frozen sperm (54%). Among women, less than half (48%) reported that they received information about treatment impact on fertility, and 14% reported that they received information about FP. Only seven women (2%) underwent FP. Predictors for receiving information about treatment impact on fertility were a pretreatment desire to have children (odds ratio [OR], 3.5), male sex (OR, 3.2), and being ≤ 35 years of age at diagnosis (OR, 2.0). Predictors for receiving information about FP included male sex (OR, 14.4), age ≤ 35 at diagnosis (OR, 5.1), and having no children at diagnosis (OR, 2.5).
Conclusion: Our results show marked sex differences regarding the receipt of fertility-related information and use of FP. There is an urgent need to develop fertility-related information adapted to female patients with cancer to improve their opportunities to participate in informed decisions regarding their treatment and future reproductive ability.