Having cancer does not change wanting a baby: healthy adolescent girls' perceptions of cancer-related infertility

J Adolesc Health. 2013 Feb;52(2):164-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.05.011. Epub 2012 Jul 15.


Purpose: The goal of this study was to determine healthy adolescents' perceptions of cancer and fertility. A secondary goal of the study was to test items related to the development of a health-related quality-of-life tool with healthy control subjects to determine whether the participants shared a common understanding of the items and response options and to confirm face and content validity.

Methods: Four focus groups of two age-groups were held with healthy female adolescents: 12-14 years (N = 11) and 15-18 years (N = 14).

Results: Adolescents in both age-groups expressed significant concerns regarding potential infertility from cancer treatment, hereditary transmission, and the impact it would have on their future. Differences emerged in language preferences among older adolescents who preferred more open-ended statements.

Conclusions: Fertility concerns and desires for future motherhood can be accurately assessed using the 10 statements tested, and clinicians should be made aware of the differences between younger and older adolescents to facilitate effective communication. This research suggests adolescents have predetermined expectations for becoming future parents, and their concerns about fertility and childbearing are present before becoming a patient.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / psychology
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Quality of Life*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Reproductive Health
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*