WHAT'S in a word? Everything, actually, so choose them carefully.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde put out a press release yesterday in support of the Scottish Government's campaign to try to boost the uptake of cervical screening appointments in the country.

This is an important message: more than two women die every day in the UK from cervical cancer, a largely preventable form of the disease, so catching it early is vital.

According to the government, one in three women don't take up their appointment for a smear test due to a wide range of reasons - including fear of pain, previous trauma, embarrassment or a lack of understanding about what's involved.

Notable in the NHS GGC press release was a missing word: women. "Women" is mentioned once - to repeat that one in three statistic. Other than that, the health board talks of "people" or "those at risk". It uses a quote from Dr Linda de Caestecker, the health board's Director of Public Health, which avoids any mention of women.

And it quotes Maree Todd, the newly appointed Women's Health Minister, who is also careful in her comment not to use the word "woman" when talking about cervical screening.

The government and the health board are clearly aiming to be inclusive with this shift in language.

Trans men and non-binary people can have a cervix. Public health officials - and, hopefully, everyone else - don't want to exclude them from health messaging.

Trans people face barriers to accessing health care and report not being listened to by doctors and other health professionals. That's also an issue also widely reported by women, so we share that problem.

Women have to battle to have their health concerns taken seriously by medics. It takes an average of seven and a half years for women to be diagnosed with endometriosis in the UK - you can bet your life if men were suffering debilitating pain, there wouldn't be a near-decade wait for diagnosis and treatment.

Inclusivity is an important thing. But inclusivity is about inviting people in, not excluding people. So should it be with language. Inclusive languages adds, it doesn't take away.

Yet health officials are continuing to fail to come up with a useful way of talking about female health concerns that include everybody and exclude nobody.

Not all women are concerned about the word "women" being dropped. Others take huge offence at the word being erased by health boards, maternity services and other healthcare settings. After decades of fighting for equal rights and the right to have exclusively female concerns taken seriously, it is seen as an affront to have the word "woman" dropped.

It's particularly galling given that the word "man" is still ok. Prostate cancer charities don't talk about "people with prostates" - they just talk about men, even though trans women and non-binary people can have prostates.

In two recent examples, the medical journal The Lancet recently ran the headline "Bodies with vaginas" on its front cover to talk about menstruation but in an article about the prostate it referred to "men". A health website, published two articles on the same day, referring to "human papillomavirus in men" and "human papillomavirus in vulva owners".

It's a gross double standard to refer to female people by their body parts but allow men more dignity. Yet again, woman are being asked routinely to make allowances that aren't being expected of men.

There's another double standard there too, in that some campaigners are against reducing a person to their body parts. So, it doesn't matter what biology a person has - they are still as valid a woman and should be respected as a woman.

On the other hand, campaigners want to be inclusive by dropping the word "woman" in exchange for using biological language.

It's definitely no easy task for health professionals to develop a language that fits everyone - but it's not impossible and it's vitally important.

We know that not everyone has a firm understanding of biological language. Studies show that low percentages of women - and it has been studies specifically of women - can accurately name all the parts of their reproductive system. So using phrases such as "people with a cervix" isn't going to reach everyone that it needs to reach.

And that's just talking about women, trans men and non binary people who have English as a first language. Imagine trying to navigate a health care system using complex phrases where you don't speak the language.

The problem for public health officials is that this issue - rather than the vital health message itself - is what will generate headlines.

In June the Scottish Government revealed that errors in the country's cervical screening programme had been linked to the death of a woman from cervical cancer. Last month it was found that another two women had died of cervical cancer after being wrongly excluded from Scotland's screening programme.

The government's communications at the time used the word "woman". It couldn't have done anything else. Had it chosen to use "people" or "people with cervixes" then the vital information being shared would have been overshadowed by a rammy about the language used.

This time the Scottish Government has chosen to risk the rammy. There has to be a better, more effective and more inclusive way to frame healthcare language.

Maybe some men could come up with it. Women's work is never done but it would be nice if the people with penises could lend a hand.