Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

College of Nursing

Sub-Department

Nursing Practice

First Advisor

JoAnne Herman

Abstract

The estimated number of cancer survivors of reproductive age in the United States is now approaching half a million, and quality of life issues, such as preservation of fertility, are important to these young adults (SEER Cancer Statistics Review 2010). The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends that oncologists address fertility issues prior to cancer treatment, offering available preservation options to all patients or refer interested patients to reproductive specialists (Lee et al., 2006). However, patients are not consistently offered information regarding fertility preservation (Tschudin et al., 2010).

Fertility preservation as part of cancer care is a relatively new area of research and the specific role responsibilities of healthcare professionals are currently unclear. Nurses are an integral part of the management team, having numerous opportunities to bridge the gap between patients and knowledge regarding fertility preservation. The purpose of this project was to examine the literature regarding fertility preservation in cancer patients of reproductive age, evaluate the role of the nurse in promoting awareness of fertility preservation options, and identify recommendations for patient advocacy and education from nurses. The evidence-based question studied was: What is the best evidence supporting current clinical practice to increase awareness of fertility preservation options in cancer patients and survivors before, during, and after cancer treatment?

Key concepts: cancer, fertility, advocacy, nurse, oncology, neoplasm, infertility, fertility preservation, reproductive health, education, and patient education

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