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Doctors' concern over reduced mention of women in NHS advice

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Leading doctors say they have concerns about the NHS reducing mentions of the word "women" in ovarian cancer guidance.

They say "it may cause confusion" and create barriers to care.

But NHS Digital, which writes the online advice, said they wanted to make it relevant for everyone who needs it.

The updated guidance now says that people with ovaries, such as trans men, can also be affected.

Until February, the NHS guidance began by explaining ovarian cancer was "one of the most common types of cancer for women". Now, the only specific mention of women comes on the third page with the explanation that ovarian cancer can affect "women, trans men, non-binary people and intersex people with ovaries".

NHS Digital said the changes were introduced to make the advice more relevant and inclusive. 

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which represents thousands of women's health specialists and pregnancy doctors, said the language used "does need to be appropriate, inclusive and sensitive to the needs of individuals whose gender identity does not align with the sex they were assigned at birth".

But it added: "Limiting the term 'woman' to one mention may cause confusion and create further barriers for some women and people trying to make an informed choice about their care.

"We would therefore support the use of the word 'woman' alongside inclusive language."

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Source: BBC News, 8 June 2022

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