MIAMI – An effort is underway at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center that is focused on protecting the future fertility of young boys undergoing cancer treatment.
Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, director of reproductive urology with UHealth’s Desai Sethi Urology Institute, said improvements in treatment mean more young patients are living full lives, which is why the center started a sperm preservation program.
He said adolescent boys who undergo chemotherapy or radiation have the potential to lose their sperm count and have a 10 percent chance of becoming sterile long after treatment.
“And it’s like an insurance policy. If you have sperm after treatment, that’s fantastic, we don’t have to go and use what is stored in the sperm bank. However, if you have the potential to not have kids naturally or when your child grows up in the future and is not able to conceive naturally, at least you have some sperm stored in the sperm bank that they can use in assisted reproduction,” he said.
Ramasamy said studies show that up to 85 percent of stored sperm was still viable 15 to 20 years after retrieval.
According to the American Cancer Society, over 10,000 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
Also in today’s health news, a study by the National Eye Institute found that the loss of a protein that protects retinal support cells may drive age-related changes in the eye.
The retina is the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye and aging associated diseases, like age-related macular degeneration, can lead to blindness.
This new finding could lead to therapies to prevent AMD and other aging conditions of the retina.