With improving survival rates among AYAs with cancer, sexuality and fertility are important quality of life (QoL) concerns before, during and after treatment. Healthcare providers aren’t always knowledgeable about infertility risks associated with prescribed therapies. Cancer nurses are often the first professionals to identify and address sexuality concerns. Different barriers are the reason of not addressing sexuality concerns and fertility preservation options prior treatment. It is crucial that AYAs are well informed prior treatment to support them in their decision-making about fertility preservation options.
An Interdisciplinary team developed an evidence-based care pathway for Hodgkin's disease. Healthcare providers from different staffs shared knowledge, expertise and skills to have positive impact on young patients survivorship outcomes. Standard infertility counselling was included prior to treatment for AYAs and a nurse led consultation prior therapy gives the opportunity to discuss important topics such as sexuality.
Implementation a care pathway increased the awareness about discussing sexuality and fertility preservation options among all healthcare providers within the haematology department. Collaboration between fertility specialists, physicians and cancer nurses will improve reproductive outcomes in AYA cancer care. Systematic feedback after fertility preservation procedures is helping to reduce reproductive concerns. Discussing sexuality during a nurse led consultation results in a better understanding of the effects of the disease and treatment and will improve QoL.
Cancer nurses have a key role in discussing sexual concerns. A cancer nurse led consultation through the whole treatment process allows patients the opportunity to discuss sexual issues and concerns. Knowing that they can have their questions answered, makes them feel more confident and comfortable during treatment. Multidisciplinary care pathways are needed to establish systems to ensure that fertility is adequately addressed and comprehensive fertility counselling is offered to all AYAs prior to therapy and during survivorship.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
University Hospital Ghent.
Has not received any funding.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.