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Collaborative multidisciplinary team approach to fertility issues among adolescent and young adult cancer patients

Authors

  • Kim Nagel RN MHSc(N),

    Corresponding author
    1. Research Manager, McMaster Child Health Research Institute Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
      Kim Nagel, McMaster Child Health Research Institute, 1200 Main St. W., room 3N27-G Hamilton, ON, L8N 3Z5 Canada. Email: nagelk@mcmaster.ca
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  • Jane Cassano MSW,

    1. Pediatric Oncology, McMaster Children's Hospital and Patient Education Specialist, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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  • Lindsay Wizowski BSN MEd,

    1. Patient Education Specialist, Clinical Practice and Education and Education and Patient Education Specialist, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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  • Michael S Neal PhD(c)

    1. Scientific Director, Centre for Reproductive Care, Hamilton Health Sciences and Reproductive Biology Division, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
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Kim Nagel, McMaster Child Health Research Institute, 1200 Main St. W., room 3N27-G Hamilton, ON, L8N 3Z5 Canada. Email: nagelk@mcmaster.ca

Abstract

Cancer treatment and the field of reproductive technology have each made impressive advancements in the last decade. Improved cancer treatment and survival rates have increased the number of cancer survivors, who might benefit from an array of fertility preservation strategies provided by emerging and advanced assisted conception technology. The challenge becomes bridging the gap between these two separate disciplines to ultimately improve the quality of life for cancer survivors. This paper discusses the issues and process involved with bringing these two teams of health-care professionals together. This model provides a framework for coordinating efforts in providing fertility preservation options to patients undergoing treatment for cancer. Effective multidisciplinary teams that include: oncologists, nurses in the specialties of oncology and infertility, social workers, reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists, andrologists, and embryologists are required to work together in order to achieve success. The result of this unique team approach is not only a cancer survivor, but one whose quality of life might be enhanced by being able to have a child of his or her own in the future.

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