Purpose: The aim of this study is to describe physicians’ clinical practice of discussing fertility issues with cancer patients and determine the factors associated with such discussion. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a nationwide Internet survey was conducted among physicians who provided daily medical care to cancer patients at hospitals or clinics. Participants answered a questionnaire assessing characteristics, discussion practices, attitudes, and barriers regarding fertility preservation. Results: Among the 180 participants, 42% discussed fertility issues with patients daily, and 30% had experience in referring patients to fertility preservation specialists. A multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that those who agreed or strongly agreed with the statements “physicians are responsible for discussing fertility preservation” (OR = 2.04, 95% CI 1.14–3.63, p < 0.05) and “patients who have an exceedingly aggressive disease and need immediate cancer treatment should not be told about fertility issues” (OR =1.84, 95% CI 1.09–3.10, p < 0.05) were nearly twice as likely to discuss fertility issues with patients. Conclusions: Compared to Western countries, fertility issues are less likely to be discussed in Japan. To increase opportunities for patients to discuss fertility issues, the ASCO guidelines should be widely understood. Additionally, these results suggest that physicians who are more likely to discuss fertility issues might feel more conflicted about whether they in fact should discuss such issues with patients with poor prognosis or insufficient time for cancer treatment.
- Cancer survivor