TitleContraceptive utilization and counseling among breast cancer survivors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMody, SKrishnan, Gorman, JR, Oakley, LP, Layton, T, Parker, BA, Panelli, D
JournalJ Cancer Surviv
Date Published05/2019

PURPOSE: To explore contraceptive counseling and utilization among breast cancer survivors.

METHODS: We enrolled reproductive-aged women with a history of breast cancer for a cross-sectional study. Participants were recruited via the Athena Breast Health Network and via the Young Survival Coalition's social media postings. Descriptive statistics were calculated to understand utilization of and feelings about contraceptive methods before, during, and after breast cancer treatment.

RESULTS: Data presented here are from an online survey of 150 breast cancer survivors who completed the survey. Seventy-one percent (n = 105) of respondents reported being sexually active and not pregnant during their primary cancer treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation). Of these, 90% (n = 94) reported using any form of contraceptive, and the most common method was condoms (n = 55, 52%). Respondents reported that safety concerns had the biggest influence on their contraception method choice. Sixty-one percent (n = 92) reported receiving contraceptive counseling by their oncologist either before or after treatment; however, 49% (n = 45) of those did not receive a specific recommendation for a contraceptive method. Of respondents who reported receiving contraceptive counseling from their gynecologist, 44% (n = 35) reported that their gynecologist specifically recommended a copper intrauterine device (IUD). The majority of respondents (n = 76, 52%) wanted their oncologist to discuss contraceptive options with them and preferred to receive this counseling at the time of diagnosis (n = 81, 57%).

CONCLUSIONS: Breast cancer survivors in this study remained sexually active across the cancer care continuum and predominantly used condoms as their contraceptive method during treatment. Breast cancer patients would prefer contraceptive counseling from their oncologist at the time of their cancer diagnosis.

IMPLICATION FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Education efforts in the future should focus on initiatives to improve comprehensive contraceptive counseling at the time of diagnosis by an oncologist.

Alternate JournalJ Cancer Surviv
PubMed ID31065953
Grant ListNIH K12 HD001259 / / National Institutes of Health /