The incidence of colorectal cancer in women of reproductive age is low.
Physicians lack awareness of infertility difficulties in these patients.
Dr Michelle Strong and colleagues from Utah, USA studied the frequency of women of child-bearing age with colorectal cancer receiving pretreatment fertility counselling from 1996 to 2004.
|38% had pregnancy or menses difficulty after treatment|
|American Journal of Surgery|
The team identified 21 screened women of reproductive age treated for colorectal cancer who met the age criteria.
The team excluded 8 patients for prior sterilization procedures or tumor involvement of reproductive organs.
Fertility counseling or referral to fertility specialists before initiating treatment were documented.
The researchers found that in the 13 remaining women, 2 had pretreatment fertility counseling documentation.
These 2 patients had fewer than 2 children, and had rectal tumors.
The team observed that 38% had pregnancy or menses difficulty after treatment.
Dr Strong's team concluded, "Few young women with colorectal cancer had pretreatment fertility counseling, whereas several had fertility complications posttreatment."
"Physicians need to discuss infertility concerns with their female colorectal cancer patients before intervention."