Four times a year, the Oncofertility Consortium hosts its Virtual Grand Rounds series, a public online forum that addresses topics in oncofertility. These clinical, research, and patient presentations engage the diverse oncofertility community to understand broader fertility issues for cancer patients. On November 18, the fall grand rounds, “Clinical Management for Pediatric and Young Adult Cancer Patients and Survivors,” included discussions by two experts in cancer survivorship, Barbara Lockart, APN/CNP, CPON and Karen Kinahan, RN, PCNS-BC.
Barbara Lockart, a pediatric nurse practitioner at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, focused her talk on the survivorship issues of children, as pediatric cancer survival rates are on the rise and approach 80% for some cancers. When dealing with young children, Lockart stressed the importance of having age-appropriate discussions with both children and their parents. While children may not understand the intricacies of fertility, she stressed that even preschoolers have some concept of parenthood. Additionally, it is important for parents to act as surrogate decision-makers independently from their own desires.
Lockart differentiated the long-term effects of cancer care, which begin during treatment and continue throughout the rest of a survivor’s life, from late effects. The late effects of treatment may not begin until years after beginning remission. Some cancer patients may lose fertility immediately during treatment while others may find themselves entering premature menopause years later. Survivors may not be aware of either of these effects on their fertility and Lockart stressed the role of nurses, such as herself, in educating parents and patients.
Lockart frequently works with Karen Kinahan, an experienced clinical nurse practitioner at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation and the Survivors Taking Action and Responsibility (STAR) Program who helps childhood cancer survivors transition into adulthood. In Kinahan’s Virtual Grand Rounds presentation, she noted that over time, long-term follow-up for survivors decreases as the late effects of cancer treatment increase. By highlighting case studies and further research, Kinahan showed that infertility is one of the most common chronic medical problems reported by survivors of childhood cancer.
Like previous Virtual Grand Rounds, the full video of the November 2010 seminar is available on the Oncofertility Consortium’s Website. Stay tuned for the next Virtual Grand Rounds: The History of Infertility to be held on February 10, 2012 with Margaret Marsh, PhD and Wanda Ronner, MD. To receive further information about participating in this Adobe Connect session and additional oncofertility events, contact us!