There one thing that men who have cancer should consider. It’s one of many things, to be sure. But it’s worth consideration, which a lot of men aren’t giving it, through no fault of their own.
A new study, reported in the “Annals of Oncology,” has found that many men whose fertility may be at risk from cancer treatment aren’t being offered the chance to store their sperm.
UK guidelines state that any men receiving treatment that may leave them infertile should be offered the opportunity to store their sperm. But, in a new study, researchers found that only half of oncologists across the UK agreed that information on sperm banking is readily available to patients.
In a survey of nearly 500 clinicians, the researchers also found that 21% were unaware of any local policies on sperm banking. And only 26% of oncologists and 38% of hematologists (doctors concerned with diseases of the blood) said that they are documenting discussions about sperm banking with male cancer patients. At the same time, nearly all doctors believed it was an integral part of their role to raise this topic.
This is a study that is obviously taking place in Britain; however, it can be inferred that the results are similar to the experience on the other side of the Atlantic.
The researchers say the findings are “very concerning.” They show that doctors are not following advice on sperm banking. It means many men are missing the opportunity to store their sperm for the future. What may be happening is that doctors are offering the chance to bank sperm based on their own personal beliefs, attitudes and assumptions about their patients’ likelihood of starting a family in the future.
It is unlikely that, in the midst of finding out one has cancer and then deciding on treatment approaches, men would think about this on their own. But it’s a vital issue to any man who may want to start a family sometime in the future. It is a piece of news that should be clearly spread to all men, and women as well.
What should happen here is for doctors and oncologists to discuss sperm banking with all male cancer patients. And since patients are advised to take such knowledge into their own hands, it’s best that they bring it up straight away.
As we know, more and more people are surviving cancer. So why should potential quality of life be shelved for cancer treatment?