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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Discussing Fertility Preservation and Related Concerns with Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients: Implications for Quality of Life

by Gwendolyn P. Quinn, PhD & Susan T. Vadaparampil, PhD 2 CE Credits

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 issues regarding future parenthood among cancer survivors. While cancer treatments are often life saving, more than half of all patients undergoing treatment will become infertile. Odds of infertility vary by cancer site, treatment agent, age, and disease stage. Although medical options for fertility preservation exist, most are not well understood by healthcare professionals or patients. Moreover, the short- and long-term psychosocial needs of these patients can be complex and at times, overwhelming. This course discusses how to facilitate communication information about fertility preservation and associated concerns with newly diagnosed cancer patients of childbearing age. An overview of the current fertility preservation options/guidelines, patients' psychosocial needs, common barriers to communication and ethical implications, is presented with a focus on the role of the mental health professional in this context.

Continuing education for this online course is offered through the following approvals:


  • HealthForum is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. HealthForum maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • HealthForum (ACE Provider #1156) is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HealthForum maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: (6/20/2017 to 6/20/2020). Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 Clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • HealthForum has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6216.  Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. HealthForum is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
Course Sections/Outline:
  • Background and Relevance
  • Fertility in Male and Female Cancer Survivors
  • Implications for Practitioners: Addressing Psychosocial Needs
  • Barriers to Communication about Fertility with Patients
  • Overcoming Communication Barriers
  • Ethical Considerations and Future Directions
  • Web-based Resources
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Identify the relevance of this topic in cancer care and the established methods of fertility preservation for males (sperm banking/sperm cryopreservation; testicular sperm extraction; testicular tissue freezing) and females (embryo freezing; Oocyte freezing; Ovarian tissue freezing; Ovarian Transposition).
  • Describe at least 6 common psychosocial themes among newly diagnosed patients of childbearing age who may consider fertility preservation.
  • Recognize and address at least 4 provider- and patient-based barriers that inhibit the discussion of fertility preservation and other relevant issues (e.g., financial, healthcare system-related) with newly diagnosed cancer patients.
  • Utilize the ‘ABCDE’ technique to navigate the ethical issues inherent to discussion of fertility preservation and related issues.