Background: The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guidelines include incorporation of fertility preservation guidelines in the care of breast oncology patients. This study aimed to examine the baseline knowledge and preferences concerning fertility preservation among women of childbearing age with newly diagnosed breast cancer at the time of their initial visit to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). Methods: A questionnaire on reproductive history, fertility knowledge, and preservation options was administered to women 18–45 years of age with newly diagnosed breast cancer at MSKCC between May and September 2011. Results: The inclusion criteria were met by 60 women eligible for analysis who had a median age of 40 years (range 20–45 years). The findings showed that 50 % of the women either desired children in the future or were unsure whether they wanted children, with 9 % reporting that they received information about fertility preservation options before their MSKCC visit. Women who had never been pregnant were more likely than those with prior pregnancies to consider having children in the future (p = 0.001) and to contemplate fertility preservation options both before (p = 0.001) and after (p = 0.0002) cancer treatment. Conclusion: Early referral allows patients to take advantage of fertility preservation options while preventing delay in the initiation of systemic therapy. Referral by the breast surgical oncologist at the time of the initial visit has the potential to increase fertility knowledge because it appears that many women have not yet received fertility information at this early treatment stage.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was funded in part through NIH/NCI Cancer Center Support Grant P30 CA008748. The authors have no disclosures to report.