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Prostate Cancer Patients Often Not Told of Fertility Risk

Physicians focus on incontinence and impotence side effects of treatments

MONDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Although prostate cancer patients are informed about the incontinence and impotence implications of treatments, most doctors fail to address the risks to future fertility, according to a report published in the October issue of Urology.

Martha K. Terris, M.D., of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, and colleagues used two questionnaires to find out to what extent men with the disease are concerned about their fertility and whether or not the issue was addressed during discussions about treatment.

The first questionnaire, returned by 115 men who had undergone treatment for prostate cancer, found that while doctors had addressed the incontinence and impotence side effects of treatment, only 8.7 percent of patients said they had been informed about the potential risk to their future fertility.

The second questionnaire, returned by 136 newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients, found that while 53.7 percent were most concerned about incontinence and 42.6 percent were most concerned about erectile dysfunction, only 3.7 percent were most concerned about fertility.

"Urologists should consider approaching the topic of infertility when discussing the pros and cons of various prostate cancer therapies with their younger patients," the authors conclude. "Optimally, the patient's partner should be present for this conversation. If a patient with prostate cancer expresses interest in future fertility, a semen analysis should be performed," they recommend, with a view to cryopreservation of sperm.

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