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Sara Swann
By Sara Swann June 17, 2024

No, a Canadian cancer charity didn’t apologize for using the term ‘cervix’ instead of ‘front hole’

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  • The Canadian Cancer Society didn’t issue an apology for using the word "cervix," nor did the charity say it would replace all uses of that word with the term "front hole."

  • The charity said it uses "medical terminology," while acknowledging that some transgender and nonbinary patients may prefer to use the term "front hole" instead of "cervix."

Social media users are claiming a Canadian cancer charity replaced reproductive anatomy terminology with gender-neutral language. But this misconstrues the organization’s guidance for treating transgender and nonbinary patients.

On June 7, the conservative X account Libs of TikTok posted, "UNREAL. In order to be ‘inclusive,’ the Canadian Cancer Society will no longer use the term ‘cervix’ and instead use the term ‘front hole.’"

Conservative commentator Tomi Lahren made a similar statement in a video shared June 17 on X: "I don’t know what’s dumber or more delusional, the fact that some are trying to make ‘front hole’ terminology a thing, or that a leading cancer charity, the Canadian Cancer Society, has apologized for not using it and instead referring to a woman’s cervix as a ‘cervix.’"

Lahren’s video showed a screenshot of a June 9 Daily Mail article headline that said, "Top cancer charity apologizes for using word ‘cervix’ instead of trans-friendly ‘front hole.’"

The Daily Mail article cites an archived page of the Canadian Cancer Society’s website that provides information for trans and nonbinary patients about getting screened for cervical cancer.

At the bottom of the archived page, under a section titled, "words matter," the organization states, "We recognize that many trans men and non-binary people may have mixed feelings about or feel distanced from words like ‘cervix.’ You may prefer other words, such as ‘front hole.’ We recognize the limitations of the words we’ve used while also acknowledging the need for simplicity. Another reason we use words like ‘cervix’ is to normalize the reality that men can have these body parts too."

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The archived page did not say "cervix" would no longer be used. The Daily Mail story may have misconstrued the language about "limitations" as a statement of regret, but the organization was explaining why it uses the word "cervix." The words "apology," "apologize" and "sorry" are not mentioned on the webpage, which was archived April 4.

The page has since been updated and the "words matter" section was removed. The only mention of the term "front hole" appears under a question about whether trans men and nonbinary people assigned female at birth should get screened for cervical cancer.

The page recommends these individuals talk with their health care providers about screenings and says, "Anyone with a cervix can get cervical cancer. The cervix is at the top of the vagina. Some trans men may call the vagina the front hole."

When PolitiFact contacted the Canadian Cancer Society, we were referred to the organization’s June 12 statement on cancer information it provides to the trans community.

"We support all people with all cancers in communities across the country, regardless of age, race, language, education, geography, socio-economic status, gender identity or sexual orientation," the statement said. "We use medical terminology, while also providing cancer information using plain language and formats to meet people’s unique needs and help them navigate their questions about cancer risk."

In 2023, PolitiFact checked False claims that health professionals were being "urged" to call vaginas "bonus holes" to avoid offending transgender or nonbinary patients.

Viral claims that the Canadian Cancer Society apologized and will "no longer use the term ‘cervix’ and instead use the term ‘front hole’" are based on an inaccurate interpretation of an archived webpage. The organization was explaining why it uses "cervix." We rate the claim False.

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No, a Canadian cancer charity didn’t apologize for using the term ‘cervix’ instead of ‘front hole’

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