Fertility awareness key for cancer patients

Not enough young cancer patients are being told about their fertility options: Fertile Future.

Cancer survivor Ashley Oscienny with her husband

A Port Alberni cancer survivor was in Vancouver last week to tell her story of fertility preservation and to inspire other young people affected by cancer.

Ashley Oscienny was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2012 when she was 28 years old. She attended and spoke at the Vancouver fundraiser, An Evening of Hope, on April 14 at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.

The gala was hosted by Fertile Future, a national charity that provides fertility preservation information and support services to cancer patients and oncology professionals, to raise funds in support of the B.C. men and women at risk of losing their fertility to cancer.

Fertility and the toxic effects of oncology treatments are key considerations for young people diagnosed with cancer, yet fewer than half receive this information from their family doctor or oncologist, according to a Fertile Future spokesperson.

“I definitely don’t think there’s enough awareness necessarily for kids… if you’re 14 it could be the last thing on your mind but that’s pretty important because maybe one day you want that option,” Oscienny said.

Approximately 10,000 Canadians between 20 and 44 years old are diagnosed with cancer every year. Fertile Future, through their Power of Hope Cost Reduction Plan, helps fund fertility preservation treatments for men and women who are affected with cancer.

Oscienny, prior to undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment, received fertility funding through Fertile Future.

“It’s not cheap to get cancer,” Oscienny said. “I found out there was the cost relief program which was a sigh of relief and then especially as we went through the cancer treatment it was even more helpful because I was off work for six months. Fertility treatment plus cancer treatment—the costs add up pretty quick.”

Oscienny’s doctors were able to perform one egg retrieval cycle prior to her cancer treatment and Oscienny’s cousin volunteered to act as surrogate. On Nov. 13, 2013 a healthy baby boy named Ryder was born.

Depending on income, women can apply for up to $2,500 to go towards egg freezing and men are eligible to receive up to $350 for sperm cryo-preservation.

“Only two provinces —Ontario and Quebec —provide fertility preservation funding for cancer patients that can often cost up to $10,000. Fertile Future helps cancer patients in B.C. and other provinces by subsidizing this cost so they have the opportunity to start a family,” said Jessica Séguin, executive director of Fertile Future.

By 2018, Fertile Future will expand the amount available for eligible women to $3,750.

“Women are born with a fixed number of eggs at birth and slowly lose eggs over time until menopause, and chemotherapy seems to accelerate that,” said Dr. Jeffrey Roberts, Fertile Future board member and co-director of the Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine.

Roberts said some studies show that infertility rates are as high as 60 to 70 per cent after a person receives chemotherapy and that sometimes patients aren’t informed by their doctors of potential risks to their fertility.

“There’s surveys done in the past that show that fewer then 50 per cent of the patients are told about the options when they’re potential candidates. I think in Canada we’re improving that through a variety of committees and initiatives that are being launched,” Roberts said.

 

karly.blats@albernivalleynews.com

facebook.com/albernivalleynews

twitter.com/alberninews

Just Posted

VIDEO: Man extracted from vehicle eight hours after accident near Cameron Lake

People making pit stop at picnic area made crash discovery

Person extracted from vehicle accident in Cameron Lake

A person has been extracted today from a reported vehicle accident in… Continue reading

Seeing double, the trials and tribulations of twins

BIG READ: Three Vancouver Island mothers share their experiences with multiple births

Learn about Port Alberni’s mayoral candidates with new film series

Alberni Valley filmmaker Dallas Dalziel discusses key issues with candidates

City of Port Alberni issues water quality alert for Kitsuksis Creek area

Kitsuksis Creek residents urged to use alternate drinking water source

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

Most Read