Health professionals face the challenge of a growing number of young long-term cancer survivors with their specific needs concerning family planning. Researchers did this study to assess decisional conflict in young female cancer patients regarding fertility preservation, identifying demographic, fertility, and fertility preservation-related factors, which may affect DC, and evaluating the helpfulness of various decision-supports.
The 155 participating women showed considerable DC, mostly about missing information and support. DC was significantly lower in patients when the risk of infertility was discussed with a health professional, when they had undergone any procedure to preserve fertility, and when they had a university education. A longer time interval since cancer diagnosis was associated with higher DC. The most helpful decision-support tools were specialized websites and leaflets.
The study concluded that young female cancer patients’ DC concerning fertility preservation is very high. Information and support seem to be deficient. More details through standardized information tools might be an effective strategy to lower their DC when treatment decisions need to be taken and improve their reproductive health after overcoming cancer.