Thread from December 21st 2020

We've altered an article on our website to reflect some changes which have been made by the HSE since women started to complain about the removal of the word “women” from a national cancer screening service for women earlier this year.

HSE inclusiveness excludes “women” from cervical cancer screening guidance
“CervicalCheck is a population screening programme, which means it has the opportunity to improve the health of the eligible population. We aim to make the programme accessible and inclusive of everyone in the population..” Except for “women” that is. Why is the HSE excluding us?

“Anyone with a cervix” has now been changed to “Women and people with a cervix”.

The only “people” with a cervix are women.

Women is the inclusive word to use.

Women includes anyone with a cervix.

Women with VSDs/DSDs (intersex) have asked not to be used by the trans lobby and have nothing to do with gender identity ideology @ClareCAIS @RaeUK @dsdfamilies

Why has TENI been involved with this?

Just 0.0036% of women have gender dysphoria according to a 2014 Irish study.

Dr Peter Boylan was asked by Ciara Kelly @NewstalkFM  if the wording should read 'women and trans men'.

Dr Boylan replied "No - I think it's simpler just to keep it with 'woman'.

Earlier this month Dr Nóirín Russell, the new clinical director of the HSE CervicalCheck screening programme explained on RTE what prompted her to want to get involved in cancer prevention when she was a junior doctor in 2001 in Cork. (link may no longer be working)

She had to bring to theatre one night a mother of four who was haemorrhaging from a cervical cancer which was not amenable to treatment. She learnt from the consultant who had to be called that he saw many women like this because there wasn't a screening programme at the time.

“It's really important to me that we have an equitable service.” 80% of eligible women attend for screening but she worries about the 20% who don't. “Every year in Ireland half of the women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer have never had a previous cervical smear.”

“We know who they are –  we know that there are women who are marginalised because of socio-economic reasons, some women are afraid of the result, some women have previous sexual trauma,.../

/...some women have language barriers, we know Traveller women are less likely to partake in screening, women with mental illness.”

"That's my goal, I want an equitable service which is accessible for all women because this is what will reduce their risk."

“All I want is the best screening programme possible for the women of Ireland,” said Dr Russell who had no problem using the word “woman” or “women” in her interview.

Shouldn't we be trying to reach as many women as possible @HSELive?

Replies from Womens Space Ireland in Twitter conversation on same topic on April 25th 2021:


The NWCI requested that TENI be included in a meeting with the National Screening Service on the language used in cervical cancer screening and afterwards sent a joint letter:

Email from NWCI to National Screening Service 21st October 2020
Email from NWCI to National Screening Service 24th November 2020

An expert in the area:

"Asked by Ciara Kelly if the wording should read 'women and trans men', Dr Boylan replied: 'No - I think it's simpler just to keep it with 'woman'."