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Soc Sci Med. 2008 Feb;66(3):784-9. Epub 2007 Nov 19.

Patient-physician communication barriers regarding fertility preservation among newly diagnosed cancer patients.

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College of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


With cancer survival rates increasing, new directions have focused on issues of survivorship, with an intense focus on quality of life. One area gaining increased attention is fertility preservation and future parenthood among cancer survivors. Although medical options for fertility preservation exist, most are not well understood by physicians, patients and family members, and are not readily accessible to patients and their health care providers. This paper discusses the current difficulties in communicating information about fertility preservation in the United States. Physician level of knowledge about fertility preservation, attitudes and comfort level with the topics, patient preferences, and financial and practice barriers may serve as obstacles in the communication process. Social, interaction and behavioral research studies are well poised to address the communication barriers and provide possible solutions to problems in understanding fertility preservation, for patients, family members and health care providers alike.

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