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How Breast Cancer Patients Navigate Fertility Concerns and Treatment Options

Karrie Snyder at Northwestern University
Study abstract

This research study looks at how younger women (under 40) and their doctors discuss issues regarding possible fertility impairment due to cancer treatment, how newly diagnosed women make treatment choices (including fertility conserving treatment options), and how fertility issues impact these women’s lives after cancer. Research has shown that while cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, can impair a cancer patient’s future fertility, doctors and patients often do not discuss possible fertility risks or what can be done to help safeguard a woman’s fertility potential (such as emergency IVF). By interviewing both younger women with a history of breast cancer and physicians who treat such women, this research will look at how treatment decisions are made particularly fertility conserving treatment options and will identify factors that facilitate the discussion of fertility related issues between patient and physician. The research also examines how having a breast cancer diagnosis influences a woman’s life after cancer including her future family plans and family relationships including those with parents and partners.

Study review

This study at Northwestern University is investigating how women diagnosed with breast cancer navigate fertility options and make treatment decisions affecting fertility.

The researchers were looking to enroll at least 15 volunteers. The Call to Action for this study was sent to Army of Women members on August 5, 2009. The researchers were able to close enrollment on November 30, 2009, after the Army of Women provided them with 24 women who were interested in enrolling in the study.