May 29, 2020 Word for Word Media
Dr Chris Venter expands on ovarian tissue cryopreservation – a novel fertility preservation technique for selective clinical cases. Early cancer detection and advances in chemotherapeutic treatment regimens have led to a dramatic increase in cancer survivors.  A large proportion of these survivors are women of reproductive age. Research has shown that one of the major concerns in these cancer survivors is the impact of cancer treatment on their reproductive health.  Fertility-risk assessment and counselling prior to chemotherapy is steadily becoming the standard of care in South Africa. This is in keeping with a holistic approach to the needs of the patient and future quality…

Mar 20, 2020 Word for Word Media
Kristin Smith, a patient navigator in oncofertility care, enlightens us on how she assists newly diagnosed cancer patients with their fertility preservation journey, at Northwestern University’s Lurie Cancer Center, in the USA. Note, this article pertains to practices in America. As a patient navigator, I work with adolescents and young adults whose lives are upended by a major diagnosis like cancer.  Fortunately, modern advancements in cancer treatment protocols, coupled with widespread early detection programmes have led to extended life expectancy and improved survival rates. However, radical surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation can leave patients infertile or unable to have biological…

Feb 3, 2020 Word for Word Media

Dr Chris Venter updates us on the current standing of oncofertility care in South Africa. At the start of a new year, it seems reasonable to take a “surgical pause” and reflect on the past year. What challenges were achieved and what challenges still lie ahead? Eighteen months back when I was tasked to co-ordinate a national collaborate attempt between fertility clinics unified under the South African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG), I was made aware by my overseas mentor, Teresa Woodruff, that this would be a long-term mission, and that the challenges we’re facing in oncofertility care are universal in…

Nov 27, 2019 Word for Word Media
Candice Hamer shares why her baby daughter, Charlotte, is her best present of all after undergoing embryo cryopreservation and facing Stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer. Candice Hamer (32) lives in Meyersdal, Gauteng with her husband, Warren (41), and their five-month-old daughter, Charlotte. Since Warren and Candice got married in 2015, starting a family was always on the cards. Candice fell pregnant in October 2016, but unfortunately lost the baby at nine weeks. A month later, she found a lump high up in her right breast.  She says it was easy to feel and was growing. Diagnostic tests were done and three lesions of…

Sep 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
Andrew Martin answers some questions so we have a clear understanding of the legalities of fertility preservation. What does fertility preservation encompass? It’s the process of saving or protecting gametes (eggs and sperm), embryos and reproductive tissue so that a person, or a nominated recipient or partner, can use them to have biological children in the future.  What is the law surrounding posthumous (born after the death of a father/mother) reproduction and the posthumous use of gametes/tissue? In short, there is no specific law in South Africa which regulates posthumous reproduction and the posthumous use of gametes/tissue.  In the absence of a legally binding…

Jul 29, 2019 Word for Word Media
Tanya Rubin explores the options of cancer survivors using a donor or surrogate to start or add to their family. Most people grow up believing that having children is a simple, easy part of life. But then enters a cancer diagnosis and infertility. Both are traumas and both raise questions that go to the very core of who we are: identity, roles, choices and life.  Sadness, loss, anger, regret, fear, guilt, anxiety and uncertainty are just some of the feelings you will face when dealing with cancer and infertility simultaneously.  Not all infertility journeys are the same. Each journey is a unique personal story,…

May 30, 2019 Word for Word Media
Dr Chris Venter educates us on the fertility preservation options for female cancer patients. When someone is confronted with the devastating diagnosis of cancer, the immediate goal is to survive the cancer. In the past decades, there has been a sharp increase of survivors of cancer. This is due to advancements in cancer therapy and earlier detection of cancer.  Many cancer survivors are in their reproductive years, and survivorship issues, such as family planning, become a real need. Evidence has shown that the desire to one day have a family is a strong motivational factor for patients fighting cancer. Unfortunately,…

Mar 20, 2019 Word for Word Media
Prof Thinus Kruger shares the fertility options males have when faced with a cancer diagnosis. The diagnosis of cancer When the diagnosis of cancer is made, it’s often a frightening experience for patients. It’s foreign territory for the patient but not for the medical staff involved. Sadly, at times the oncologist may overlook the fertility preservation aspect, as the focus at the time is to treat and cure the cancer.  Germ cells sensitive to chemotherapy and radiation Chemotherapy and radiation with surgery are often involved in the treatment plan of these patients and can cause infertility. The function of the testes is to…

Sep 28, 2017 Word for Word Media
Dr Yossi Unterslak offers ways to preserve fertility before cancer treatment. Damaged caused Chemotherapies and radiation therapies can damage women’s ovaries and induce premature menopause, significantly harming fertility. Cancer patients who are set to undergo chemotherapy or radiotherapy need to consider preserving their fertility. Options are available to secure patients’ future families, but this requires immediate action after diagnosis. The entire fertility preservation process can be completed before patients start therapy; in the time they’re waiting for medical aids to authorise treatment and while they finish off work. Freezing of eggs For single women, who don’t have partners, egg…