Anyone with ovaries

The NHS is getting busy with the erasers.

Official NHS advice about ovarian, [uterine] and cervix cancers have quietly removed the word ‘women’ from their webpages, MailOnline can reveal. 

The original version of the ovarian NHS cancer page featured the line: ‘Ovarian cancer, or cancer of the ovaries, is one of the most common types of cancer in women.’

It also highlights the women who may be particularly at risk, saying: ‘Ovarian cancer mainly affects women who have been through the menopause (usually over the age of 50), but it can sometimes affect younger women.’

However, in an update sneaked out in January — which campaigners only uncovered this week — both lines were removed. Instead, another line was added: ‘Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer, but it mostly affects those over 50.’

“With ovaries” is the new “woman.” Will it be contracted to wovaries?

…the NHS has defended the update, stating it seeks to make the pages ‘as helpful as possible to everyone who needs them’. 

No, that’s not true. The way to do that is to be as explicit as possible. Omitting the fact that it’s women (and only women) who get ovarian or uterine or cervical cancer is not explicit, it’s the opposite of explicit.

Similar changes have also been made to the NHS’s womb cancer page, which used to open with: ‘Cancer of the womb (uterine or endometrial cancer) is a common cancer that affects the female reproductive system. It’s more common in women who have been through the menopause.’ But the page was changed in October last year to omit these lines, with no other mention of women on the main page. 

Professor Jenny Gamble, a midwifery expert from Coventry University, told MailOnline the change in language risked women missing out on health information.

‘The trend to avoid using the terms woman and women is unhelpful,’ she said. ‘It is a well-established principle of communication that the sex of individuals should be made visible when relevant and should not be made visible when not. This ensures that sex-related needs and issues are not overlooked.’

Yes but what about validation? What about validating everyone’s magic gender? Focus.

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