Starting the Discussion Early

Home Echo Discussions Module 2 Discussion Starting the Discussion Early

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    I think one big take away is the importance  of upfront communication to patients and families about risk of  fertility problems post treatment.  It was good to explore an all too familiar scene of the patient being under-informed about what cancer treatment could mean for his  life and family planning goal.

    I would have liked 2 additional points to be included.

    1. If his summary of treatment was available , taking to him about his risk in reference to the therapy he received. I think that helps patient weigh the benefits of perusing fertility testing that can be an out of pocket expense.

    2. More open ended questions for him to open up about what he sees are his goals for family planning since he is a young adult. Such as ; When you think about having a family,  what does that looks like? I like to gauge where the young adult is at in terms of long term family planning goals to better direct needed referral services.





    I agree with your points. Sometimes patients may think that fertility testing or fertility preservation is not an option because of the out of pocket expenses, and maybe they would want to pursue it if they knew that there are resources to assist with the financial cost.


    I agree with your additional points Laura. I would also love for a summary of his treatment to be available. I think this would provide a good teaching tool for the patient to understand why he is at risk for infertility. I also would have liked to see him answer some of those other questions about what he is interested in doing and her to discuss the financial part of it. I think that changes a lot of young adults minds about pursuing testing and treatment options. That would have also allowed her to discuss resources like Livestrong and other programs that can help offset some of the cost.


    I agree that open ended questions certainly can provide such valuable information about what are the goals of the patient and where are they starting from. Having his medical history would of course also be very helpful in the conversation as well.


    I would certainly have liked to have seen them talk about his specific treatments, as well! The social worker did a fine job of laying the foundation for the conversation and providing brief overviews of his options. As healthcare providers, we can often find ourselves on ‘autopilot’ in conversations that we bring up frequently with patients. Its always important to note that a patient may need a bit more time to process, or may not see it in the same terms as the medical team right off the bat. I did appreciate how the first option she gave was the chance for natural conception, because many patients can quickly jump to the conclusion that they will never be able to conceive a child that way. Excellent points!

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