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New tool guides doctors to save cancer patients' fertility
Date:2/26/2009

CHICAGO --- The powerful chemotherapy and radiation used to save cancer patients' lives can also destroy their fertility.

Research in a new field called oncofertility has advanced the ability of doctors to preserve the reproductive health of women, men and children who are diagnosed with cancer. Yet, many oncologists aren't familiar with these new strategies to help their patients.

A leading oncofertility researcher and a breast surgical oncologist from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have written a guide to help doctors navigate their patients through the new technologies to preserve their fertility and understand the fertility threats posed by cancer treatments. The guide, based on the latest research, offers strategies based on each kind of cancer, age and gender of the patient.

The article is published in the February 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and is included in the NEJM Audio Summary.

"We hope that physicians who are not used to dealing with fertility threats associated with treatment can now talk confidently with their patients about their options," said article co-author Teresa Woodruff, chief of fertility preservation and the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Feinberg School. "This is a new tool for them."

Woodruff and Northwestern colleagues also recently launched www.myoncofertility.org, an interactive web site to educate patients about the potential effect of cancer and treatments on their fertility and options to preserve it.

"Doctors are focused on saving a patient's life and are not used to thinking about preserving a patient's fertility and incorporating fertility preservation into her or his care," said lead author Jacqueline Jeruss, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at Feinberg. Jeruss also is a surgical oncologist at Northwestern Memorial's Prentice
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Contact: Marla Paul
Marla-Paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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