Background: Utah has an annual rise of 4.4% of patients diagnosed with early-onset colorectal cancer (EOCRC). Considering the projected population growth in Utah over the next decade, EOCRC is poised to present a significant challenge to the state's healthcare landscape. EOCRC patients face unique challenges such as psychosocial problems, experience long lasting side effects of treatments such as infertility and tend to need fertility preservation counseling before the start of cancer treatments. The objective of this narrative review was to assess the current literature that addresses reproductive concerns in EOCRC using the validated “Reproductive Concerns After Cancer” (RCAC) scale, to describe reproductive and fertility-related challenges in EOCRC patients from diverse backgrounds.
Method: Manuscripts were considered eligible when an article uses the RCAC scale, when study sample groups with CRC survivors under 50 were included and included other cancers. All articles provided the RCAC score which includes six sub scores that measures patient concerns. We conducted a narrative literature search on several databases including: PubMed, Web-of-Science, Embase, and Google Scholar using the following key words and phrases: Reproductive concerns AND EOCRC OR young rectal cancer patients, OR young colon cancer patients OR colorectal cancer patients AND health concerns OR cancer patients.
Results: Our literature search identified 21 articles, 15 articles were excluded for not meeting the inclusion criteria and a total of 6 articles were included. We identified several limitations in the published articles including small sample sizes, lack of rural/frontier populations, only small numbers of African-American patients, and only limited studies in the male population.
Conclusion: There are limited studies utilizing the RCAC scale to describe reproductive and fertility-related challenges especially in EOCRC patients. Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to address reproductive and fertility-related challenges in male population as well as in cancer health disparities.