Standing room only at the State's first Oncofertility Symposium

14 September 2017

Originally published by South East Sydney LHD news - on the pulse 13 September 

Oncology and fertility specialists from across the Randwick Campus and UNSW Australia hosted NSW’s first symposium focused on oncofertility on 31 August, at the Royal Hospital for Women.

Dr Antoinette Anazodo, Staff Specialist, Medical Oncology, Prince of Wales and Sydney Children’s Hospital and the program leader of the FUTURE (Fertility Understanding Through Registry and Evaluation) Fertility team – comprised of professionals from the Prince of Wales Hospital, Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Translational Cancer Research Network, UNSW Sydney – joined forces to develop the day-long event.

The Sydney Oncofertility Symposium heard from six speakers, including the Royal Hospital for Women's Professor Bill Ledger, presenting on the development and future direction of oncofertility for cancer patients in the morning, before heading about the different medical and psychosocial models of care at diagnosis and survivorship.

Attendees also heard from key note speaker, Professor Teresa Woodruff, Northwestern University, USA, on the development of the oncofertility specialty: What we have learnt and how we continue to grow, and using in vitro follicle growth to preserve women’s fertility.

Antoinette said fertility preservation and oncofertility care have become increasingly important for paediatric cancer survivors and cancer patients of a reproductive age (15-45 years), given the increase in survival and the unknown side effects of immunotherapy. "This means we have to be proactive about seeking evidence for reproductive damage. There still remains a major gap between acute cancer management and the implications for all patients’ future fertility. The symposium, jointly funded by the Kids Cancer Alliance and the Translational Cancer Research Network, aimed to start the conversation on bridging this gap,” Antoinette said. “The response from the symposium has been terrific, with every seat in the auditorium filled. By sharing ideas and presenting current research and practices on oncofertility, we have enabled the development of further opportunities between cancer and fertility disciplines.”