The American Society for Clinical Oncology provides continuing education for medical professionals on a range of topics. One recently-launched module, Focus Under Forty, disseminates information to help providers best care for patients between 15 and 39 years old. The free presentations identify the unique challenges that young cancer patients and survivors face in the realm of supportive and cancer care.
The seminars identify medical risks that cancer disease or its treatment may cause for young patients. Some issues, such as osteoporosis and blood clots, may affect adolescents and young adults more than children. Other problems identified in the module are caused by specific cancer therapies, such as anthracycline and high doses of cyclophosphamide, which can increase the risk of heart problems. These and other therapies may also impair the future fertility of cancer survivors. The module further discusses how women who are already pregnant when diagnosed with cancer face their own unique dilemmas, as many therapies may affect the development of a fetus.
The ASCO modules also provide sample questions for health care providers to ask young patients about various aspects of their health. In addition, it provides resources for clinicians and patients to support their needs. This information provides the framework for medical professionals to increase their understanding about cancer in young people and better care for them. Clinicians with detailed questions about fertility and cancer treatment can also call the Oncofertility Consortium's FERTline hotline at 866/708-FERT (3378).