Improving outcomes for young women with breast cancer: fertility and childbearing issues

Fertility issues and family planning decisions are prominent concerns for young women with breast cancer. This XRAYS looks at Dr. Ann Partridge’s presentation at the 2018 San Antonio Breast Cancer symposium. Her talk, “Breast cancer in young women: Understanding differences to improve outcomes," focused on initial findings from the Young Women's Breast Cancer Study. Dr. Partridge’s research continues in the currently enrolling POSITIVE trial which tests whether women can safely interrupt adjuvant endocrine therapy in order to get pregnant. (1/7/19)

Expert Guidelines

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) provides guidelines for fertility in people diagnosed with cancer. 

The NCCN recommends doctors discuss the following with adolescents and adults with cancer before treatment begins:

Doctors should refer patients as indicated for the following services:

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends screening and treatment of distress as part of the recommended standard of care. 

These recommendations include:

Patients should expect to receive distress screening and help at your doctor visits. If your distress isn’t addressed, ask for help. NCCN provides a "Distress During Cancer Care" pamphlet that provides more information.

The American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) points out several therapies for anxiety and stress for patients to consider during or after cancer treatment:

Questions To Ask Your Health Care Provider

Open Clinical Trials

The following research studies related to fertility preservation are enrolling patients.

Fertility preservation studies for women

Fertility preservation for men


FORCE is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1999. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by adult hereditary cancers.