The UK's National Health Services (NHS) has scrubbed the word “women” from many of their guidances in order to be "inclusive." The UK government-funded healthcare and medical agency is the one-stop shop for UK citizens to access their universal health care benefits.
The NHS’s erasure of "women" is from their resources on ovarian, cervical, and womb cancers, all of which only impact women. The NHS overview guidance for ovarian cancer previously read, “Ovarian cancer, or cancer of the ovaries, is one of the most common types of cancer in women. The ovaries are a pair of small organs located low in the tummy that are connected to the womb and store a woman's supply of eggs. Ovarian cancer mainly affects women who have been through the menopause (usually over the age of 50), but it can sometimes affect younger women.”
The updated overview guidance for ovarian cancer now reads, “Ovarian cancer affects the 2 small organs (ovaries) that store the eggs needed to make babies. Anyone with ovaries can get ovarian cancer, but it mostly affects those over 50.”
Despite the move being deemed more "inclusive," the removal of gendered language has only been implemented on guidances female-specific conditions. The NHS website still offers gendered guidance on issues such as prostate cancer, where the word “men” is bountiful.
The current NHS overview guidance for prostate cancer reads, “The risk rises as you get older, and most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age. Prostate cancer is more common in black men than in Asian men. Having a brother or father who developed prostate cancer before age 60 seems to increase your risk of developing it.”
The NHS website also added that ovarian cancer can impact "trans men, non-binary people and intersex people with ovaries." The guidances for prostate cancer only mention men, and has not been expanded to include trans, nonbinary, and intersex individuals.
According to internet archives, the change seems to have been made sometime in February of this year, with the last version detailing ovarian, cervical, and womb cancer as female-specific conditions being seen on the NHS website on February 14th, 2022.
The Post Millennial spoke to a press contact at the NHS who said that the NHS was unaware of the change. NHS informed TPM that the changes would have been made by NHS Digital, an agency that manages the government health site. When TPM reached out to NHS Digital, their automated system informs callers that the NHS Digital team “will not be able to assist you with any medical advice.”
NHS Digital gave an official response to The Post Millennial saying, “It is not correct to say that there is no mention of women on the ovarian cancer pages. We have updated the pages as part of our routine review of web pages to keep them in line with the best clinical evidence, and make them as helpful as possible to everyone who needs them.”
NHS Digital told TPM that they aim to be "inclusive" and "respectful," saying, "We use language that is inclusive, respectful and relevant to the people reading it." NHS Digital did not respond to our questions about gendered language still being included for male-specific conditions.
The move from NHS Digital follows a recent uprising of transgender activists pushing to have the word "woman" and "women" removed from society. The concerted effort has primarily negatively impacted women, especially in healthcare and sports.
In prisons where gender is erased, women are facing an increase in sexual assaults as a result of biological men being placed in cells with women. In one case in California, a woman was raped by biological male in a women’s prison, and the rapist was moved to lower-security prison.
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