Purpose: Most research regarding fertility in young women with breast cancer has focused on long-term survivors. Little is known about how fertility concerns affect treatment decisions or fertility preservation strategies at the time of initial cancer diagnosis. Patients and Methods: As part of an ongoing prospective multicenter cohort study, we surveyed women with newly diagnosed early-stage breast cancer at age ≤ 40 years. The baseline survey included sociodemographic, medical, and treatment data as well as a modified Fertility Issues Survey, including fertility concern and preservation items. Univariable and multivariable modeling were used to investigate predictors of greater fertility concern. Results: Among the first 620 eligible respondents included in this analysis, median age was 37 years (range, 17 to 40 years); 425 women (68%) discussed fertility issues with their physicians before starting therapy, and 319 (51%) were concerned about becoming infertile after treatment. Because of concerns about fertility, four women (1%) chose not to receive chemotherapy, 12 (2%) chose one chemotherapy regimen over another, six (1%) considered not receiving endocrine therapy, 19 (3%) decided not to receive endocrine therapy, and 71 (11%) considered receiving endocrine therapy for < 5 years; 65 (10%) used fertility preservation strategies. Greater concern about fertility was associated with younger age, nonwhite race, not having children, and receipt of chemotherapy. Conclusion: Many young women with newly diagnosed breast cancer have concerns about fertility, and for some, these substantially affect their treatment decisions. Only a minority of women currently pursue available fertility preservation strategies in this setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research