The word “woman” has been dropped from material of a new smear test campaign by Cancer Research UK as part of efforts to be more inclusive of transgender men and those with different gender identities.
Launched on Monday, campaign material for Cervical Cancer Awareness Week now uses the phrase “everyone aged 25-64 with a cervix,” as opposed to “women aged 25-64,” as the charity looks to encourage a greater uptake in cervical screening, more commonly known as smear tests, among transgender men.
The campaign comes as cervical screening rates have fallen to a 20-year low in England. Every year more than 3,200 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 890 die, according to figures provided by The Times.
Material used on the charity’s social media campaign also looked to tackle some of the common misconceptions around smear tests such as nervousness and embarrassment some people feel which prevents them from getting tested.
Speaking on the new language, Fiona Osgun from Cancer Research UK said: “Cervical cancer develops in anyone who has a cervix,” adding that this “includes women as well as people with other gender identities such as trans men.”
The linguistic rejig also considered where “screening might not be relevant for all women such as those who have had a full hysterectomy,” Osgun said.
“We phrased our information on cervical screening awareness week to reflect this,” she added.
According to research gathered by Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, five million women in the UK are invited for cervical screenings each year, however, one in four do not respond.
A spokesperson for the charity told the Times that it too used the phrase “anyone with a cervix” to remind trans men they are also at risk. “But we use ‘women and anyone with a cervix’ in our messaging, so as not to isolate any groups,” it added.
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