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NHS drops the word 'women' from guidance on ovarian, womb and cervical cancers


The NHS has dropped the word 'women' from its main online health advice for those being treated for cervical, womb and ovarian cancers. 

Cervical cancer is now described on the health service's website as 'a cancer that's found anywhere in the cervix' while womb cancer affects 'the womb'. 

To see the word 'women' being used to talk about female illness, patients have to click further into the website 

England's NHS website - which is often the first port of call for people checking symptoms - previously used the word 'women' to talk about female cancers. 

It used to say: '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 now the NHS website writes: 'Most womb cancer usually starts in the lining of the womb (endometrium), this is also known as endometrial cancer.'

The move has come under fire from researchers into birth and childcare who worry that those with poor language skills who already have 'worse health outcomes' could find it difficult to understand the NHS website. 

Other examples on the NHS website - part of NHS Digital that now is under NHS England - include referring to ovarian cancer as affecting 'the two organs that store the eggs needed to make babies' and over 50s. 

It previously said: '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.'

A spokeswoman for NHS Digital said: 'It is not correct to say that there is no mention of women on the ovarian, womb and cervical 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.'