Awareness and practices of Arab oncologists towards oncofertility in young women with cancer

12 May 2022
Loay Kassem, Nawfel Mellas, Marwan Tolba, Matteo Lambertini, Karima Oualla

Background: Cancer in young women is a major health problem in the Middle Eastern and North African population. We explored the awareness, barriers and practice of Arab oncologists towards oncofertility.

Methods: Oncologists from Arab countries treating female cancer patients were invited to complete a 30-item web-based questionnaire that explores oncologists’ demographics, available techniques and barriers to oncofertility.

Results: 170 oncologists working in 9 different Arab countries responded to the questionnaire. Among the responders, 89 (52.4%) were from Egypt and the central region, 60 (35.3%) were from North Africa and 21 (12.4%) were from the Gulf region.

While most participants considered a dedicated training ‘necessary’, only 43 oncologists (25.3%) received a formal training. Only 17 participants (10%) had a fertility clinic in their centre, 44 (25.9%) and 13 (7.6%) had to refer patients to other centres or other cities, respectively. A total of 96 oncologists (56.5%) did not have access to a fertility preservation service.

Out of 147 responders, 79 (53.7%) offered fertility preservation only in patients presenting with early disease and 38 (25.9%) did not offer fertility preservation. In terms of proposed strategies, 50 responders (29.4%) offered embryo cryopreservation, 79 (46.5%) oocyte cryopreservation and 48 (28.2%) ovarian tissue cryopreservation.

Conclusion: A large gap exists between international clinical practice guidelines and current practices of fertility preservation in Arab countries. Barriers to optimum service delivery include the lack of physician awareness/training, unavailability of some advanced techniques and a lack of dedicated fertility clinics within the cancer centres.

Related Articles

Rugengamanzi Eulade, Godwin Abdiel Nnko, Jerry Ndumbalo, Nazima Dharsee, Larry O Akoko, Christian Ntizimira, Beda Likonda, Harrison R Chuwa, Salum Lidenge, Verna Vanderpuye, Nazik Hammad, Sikudhani Muya, Fidel Rubagumya
Steve Joseph Benny, Jeffrey Mathew Boby, Ravindran Chirukandath, Togy Thomas, Ambika Vazhuthakat, Edwin Saji, Athul Raj Raju, Aju Mathew
Tabassum Wadasadawala, Roshankumar Patil, Johnny Carlton, Shalini Verma, Namita Umesh, Pallavi Rane, Rajiv Sarin, Rima Pathak, Jyoti Bajpai, Nita Nair, Tanuja Shet, Ramneet Kaur
Ally Mwanga, Eric Mbuguje, Jared Alswang, Nathan Brand, Andrew Swallow, Deogratius Beda Mwanakulya, Charles Pallangyo, Seif Wibonela, Eva Uiso, William Kitua, Saleh Pazi