The Cancer Health 25 is an annual list that honors individuals who have made a difference in the lives of people with cancer. This year’s theme is quality of life. To see the full list, click here.
Reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist Terri Woodard, MD, 46, is dedicated to fertility preservation and family building for women and men diagnosed with cancer.
Her research focuses on the psychosocial aspects of fertility preservation. Infertility after cancer is associated with long-term emotional distress and poorer quality of life for men and women, particularly those left childless, according to an ASCO Daily News article about Woodard’s work. Fertility preservation, on the other hand, represents “hope for biologic offspring and a restored sense of control.”
In 2012 people affected by cancer to have, Woodard, associate professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, established the University of Texas MD Anderson Oncofertility Program, which partners with the Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children’s Hospital Family Fertility Center. The program includes a clinical service that offers fertility counseling prior to cancer treatment as well as comprehensive fertility preservation and family-building services for women, men and children whose reproductive potential may be or may have already been impacted by cancer or its treatment.
Woodard is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Her research focuses specifically on investigating interventions that promote effective decision-making and alleviate the distress commonly associated with potential cancer-related infertility.
This led her and her team to design and produce the award-winning interactive web-based decision aid Pathways to support women with cancer who are considering fertility preservation. Her work has been funded by the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology as well as the Duncan Family Institute Seed Funding Research Program. Her dedication and contributions to her field have earned her the Young Investigator Award from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
An ardent advocate for expanding access to fertility care for all who need it, she is very involved in raising awareness of cancer-related infertility. As she told ASCO, “I found my passion. This is what I really love to do.”