New study will help patients, doctors talk about fertility-preserving
TORONTO, May 30, 2014 /CNW/ - A new study funded by the Canadian Cancer
Society will lead to the first Canadian decision aid that will help
young cancer patients make choices to increase their odds of having a
baby after treatment.
Young women who undergo cancer treatments can often be unknowingly at
risk of infertility, an issue complicated by the fact that many cancer
care experts lack the knowledge and resources necessary to assist them
with their choices. The study is led by Dr Nancy Baxter, chief of the
division of general surgery at St Michael's Hospital in Toronto. The
study is worth almost $300,000 and is one of 9 new Society Quality of
Life Grants totalling more than $2 million.
"As a surgeon, I care for many cancer patients, but when it comes to
providing them with information about protecting their fertility, I
honestly can't offer them much," says Dr Baxter. "The goal of my
project is to develop a tool that will address the unique needs of
these young women by allowing them to examine the pros and cons of
their reproductive options."
For adolescent and young adult women diagnosed with cancer, the loss of
fertility resulting from treatment can be especially challenging.
Infertility in cancer survivors can be a major cause of distress and
can have long-term consequences for their well-being.
Currently, doctors in Canada use American fertility guidelines for
cancer patients. Dr Baxter and her team are developing a uniquely
Canadian tool that will reflect the options available in this country.
The project involves:
research to understand the experiences of women at risk of cancer
treatment-related infertility and the attitudes of healthcare providers
toward discussing this sensitive issue
adapting an existing Australian decision tool for breast cancer patients
at high risk of infertility to include a broad range of cancers
pilot testing and evaluating the new Canadian decision aid with patients
and healthcare experts
"Quality of life is an important consideration for people living with
and beyond cancer. Research in this area will help us better understand
the important issues," says Dr Siân Bevan, Director, Research, Canadian
Cancer Society. "Dr Baxter's project will create a tool that will help
young cancer patients and their doctors discuss a complex topic and
help them make the best decisions."
Adolescents and young adults are aged 15 to 29 years. According to the
most recent statistics, there were 2,075 new cases of cancer per year
(between 1992 and 2005) in this age group. Slightly more young females
than young males were diagnosed with cancer.
Quality of Life Grants: "Without Society funding, there would be no
other way to do this project."
Dr Baxter says her new grant gives her the opportunity to bring together
a multidisciplinary team including surgeons, oncologists, a
reproductive health specialist, social worker and knowledge translation
expert to fully explore this area. "Without funding from the Society,
there would be no other way to do this project. Other funding agencies
in Canada just don't have the focus on quality of life like the Society
Below are a few of the other newly funded Quality of Life Grants. A
complete list is available on cancer.ca.
Dr Bruno Gagnon, Laval University, $281,000 - Advanced cancer patients are confronted by a high burden of physical
and psychological symptoms that affect their quality of life. Research
has shown that combined care from a nurse and a physician leads to
significant improvements in quality of life and contributes to less
aggressive care at the end of life and longer survival. In this study,
Dr Gagnon is testing whether a large team from multiple healthcare
disciplines is superior to early involvement of only a physician and
nurse in patients with advanced cancer. This could ultimately improve
the quality of care for advanced cancer patients.
Dr Gary Rodin, Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre,
Toronto, $300,000 - Acute leukemia, once diagnosed, requires patients to immediately
begin intensive chemotherapy due to the swift deterioration of patients
with this disease. As a result, patients can experience profound
symptoms and emotions, which are not well addressed in current research
or practice. Dr Rodin has developed the Emotion and Symptom-focused
Intervention (EASI) that can help patients manage physical and
emotional responses such as fatigue, anxiety and pain. He is now
conducting a pilot test of EASI in patients with acute leukemia to see
whether it can reduce the burden of symptoms and improve quality of
life. This could lead to a larger trial that could influence policies
and practices for treating these patients.
Dr Kelli Stajduhar, University of Victoria, $300,000 - Family caregivers looking after a relative dying of cancer often carry
considerable emotional, social, financial and physical burdens. Dr
Stajduhar's research team has developed the Carer Support Needs
Assessment Tool (CSNAT), an intervention to assess the support needs of
family caregivers providing palliative home care. Dr Stajduhar will
test this by comparing 2 groups of caregivers: one receiving CSNAT; the
other not. The intervention could help enhance the quality of life of
family caregivers and also support a well-established desire of
terminally ill patients to spend their final days at home.
Through our generous donors and rigorous peer-review process, the
Canadian Cancer Society funds the best cancer research in Canada. Our
funded researchers work in universities, hospitals and research centres
across the country and are mapping new ways to change cancer forever.
For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at
1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).
Image with caption: "Dr. Nancy Baxter has received a Canadian Cancer Society Quality of Life Grant to develop a tool that will help young cancer patients, doctors talk about fertility-preserving choices (CNW Group/Canadian Cancer Society (National Office))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140530_C7623_PHOTO_EN_40908.jpg
Image with caption: "Canadian Cancer Society Logo (CNW Group/Canadian Cancer Society (National Office))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140530_C7623_PHOTO_EN_40910.jpg
SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)
For further information:
Bilingual Communications Specialist
Canadian Cancer Society