HealthForumOnline Updates Online CE Course on Discussing Fertility Preservation with Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients

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HealthForumOnline (HFO) has recently updated Discussing Fertility Preservation and Related Concerns with Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients: Implications for Quality of Life, an online continuing education (CE) course for mental health professionals. HFO offers over 100 nationally-approved online CE courses for psychologists, social workers, counselors, marital family therapists and other allied health care providers that are fast, convenient and especially cost-effective - with free ongoing access to course updates beyond completion of the CE activity.

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Cancer patients of childbearing age have to contend with reproduction issues as an aspect of survivorship and a challenge to quality of life.

HealthForumOnline (HFO) is pleased to announce that it has recently updated its online CE course entitled, Discussing Fertility Preservation and Related Concerns with Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients: Implications for Quality of Life; one of nine online CE courses in HFO’s Cancer Adaptation category in our extensive CE resource library for mental health professionals and other allied health care workers.

With cancer survival rates increasing, new directions have focused on issues of survivorship, with an intense focus on quality of life. One area gaining attention is fertility preservation and issues regarding future parenthood among cancer survivors. According to the Surveilance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2011, generated by the National Cancer Institute, a substantial proportion of cancer patients are women and men of reproductive age (1). The American Cancer Society estimates that there are currently 14.5 million cancer survivors with 450,000 of these survivors between the ages of 19-39 (2).

While cancer treatments are often life saving, more than 50% all patients undergoing treatment will become infertile. Odds of infertility vary by cancer site, treatment, age, and disease stage. Although medical options for fertility preservation exist, most are not well understood by healthcare professionals or patients. Moreover, the short- and long-term psychosocial needs of younger patients can be complex and at times, overwhelming since many may not have thought about and/or finalized their expectations/decisions about having a family at the time of their diagnosis. Surviving an adolescent or young adult malignancy has, in fact, been associated with increased concerns regarding fertility (e.g., 3) and childlessness (e.g., 4). Thus, in addition to the anxiety and depression commonly associated with the experience of a cancer diagnosis and treatment at any age, patients of childbearing age have to contend with reproduction issues as an aspect of survivorship and a challenge to quality of life.

This recently updated online continuing education (CE) course aims to facilitate communication about fertility preservation and associated concerns with newly diagnosed cancer patients of childbearing age. Current fertility preservation options/guidelines, patients' psychosocial needs, common barriers to communication and ethical implications are reviewed with a focus on the role of mental health professionals in this context. Specifically, information will help providers meet the psychological needs of their patients by enabling them to identify the established methods of fertility preservation for males and females, as well as the common psychosocial needs of newly diagnosed patients of childbearing age who may consider fertility preservation. Providers will be able to recognize and address the barriers that inhibit the discussion of fertility preservation and related issues. Moreover, psychologists, social workers, and counselors will understand how to navigate the ethical issues inherent to discussion of fertility preservation and related issues.

About HealthForumOnline:

HealthForumOnline (HFO) is approved as a provider of CE courses by the American Psychological Association, the National Board of Certified Counselors, and the Association of Social Work Boards. Psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and other allied health professionals can now chose from over 100 courses from our 20 categories of topics related to health psychology and behavioral medicine. Health professionals can complete CE courses at their own pace, on their own schedule, anywhere they have Internet access – generating their own CE certificate.

1. Howlader, N., et al. (2011). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2011, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD.

2. American Cancer Society (2013). Cancer facts and figures – 2014. Atlanta, GA.

3. Gorman, J.R., et al. (2012). How do you feel about fertility and parenthood? The voices of young female cancer survivors. Journal of Cancer Survivorship : Research and Practice, 6(2), 200–209.

4. Dieluweit, U., et al. (2010). Social outcomes of long-term survivors of adolescent cancer. Psychooncology, 19(12), 1277-1284.

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Michelle Rodoletz, Ph.D.
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