Access to Oncofertility Options for Rural Cancer Patients

Cancer Navigators working in smaller rural cancer centers often face a challenge in arranging a timely fertility consult for a newly diagnosed cancer patient. Time constraints due to the need to begin cancer therapy, along with the distance required for the patient to travel for the consult, frequently cause patients to forgo the fertility preservation options discussion before treatment. Following cancer treatment, many patients want to investigate their fertility options.

Cancer Navigators not working in a facility with a fertility specialist, now have access to an online  Fertility Patient Navigator, providing the opportunity to better educate young patients about fertility options.  The new website, hosted by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern, has been designed to assist young patients in learning about their reproductive options in the midst of a cancer diagnosis or after treatment for cancer. The website, Patient Navigator for Fertility Preservation, provided by the Oncofertility Consortium of Northwestern University, has a Fertility Patient Navigator, Kristin Smith, available to answer questions about reproduction options surrounding a cancer diagnosis. She is experienced in talking to patients and providers about the best reproductive options for cancer survivors at all stages of treatment.

The web site has an interactive tool to provide information for patients before or after puberty, and before or after cancer treatment.  At his/her convenience, the patient can watch tutorial videos explaining how fertility is impacted by chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery.  Personal stories from others who have selected different types of fertility preservation are also available for viewing. This new website should be an excellent resource to help Cancer Navigators educate their patients about fertility options.

Have any of you working in rural areas dealt with this issue? How have you managed it?

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