Health Alert: Cancer and fertility

NATIONAL - Lance Armstrong survived it. Now he's putting his foundation's money into research to find out how testicular cancer impacts patients well after they've beaten the disease.

Ryan Dent is a college student, concerned with classes, not with being a father. "I guess I would be universal among 22-year old males that they don't really worry about you know, whether or not they're going to have kids in the, in the near future or not."

But for Ryan, it may be complicated. He's a testicular cancer survivor, and his future fertility may be in question. "They actually did send me to a sperm bank, where I did make a deposit."

His candor is exactly what Doctor Lillian Meacham is looking for. She's studying young male cancer survivors to see how the disease impacts them later in life. "In regards to their fertility, their ability to produce testosterone, and even their sexual function."

This straight talk about sex will likely provide doctors with a guide to help their young patients. Dr. Meacham says, "How do you get your patient to the right center and be sure that they can do that before they start their cancer therapy?"

A "roadmap" is important for female patients, too. Dr. Meacham says, "We found that in females, they're at very high risk for premature menopause, and so we that's important information to know, especially if you're planning a family. You don't want to wait until you're older to start a family, if you're a cancer survivor."

After surviving cancer, all young patients want to make sure it doesn't limit their options.

Researchers at three sites, Emory in Atlanta, Saint Jude's in Memphis and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle are still recruiting male cancer survivors to answer the questionnaire.

Doctor Meacham is working out of Emory University Hospital and Children's Hospital of Atlanta. For more information, call 404-785-1717.

Posted by Chantelle Janelle