In a report revealed on March 29, the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project reported that Donald Trump’s Health Department wiped breast cancer information from its web site. The undertaking’s director of coverage, Andrew Bergman, tweeted on Monday, “This censorship sows real doubt about health considerations for populations of vulnerable women throughout the country.”
ThinkProgress reached out to the HHS for touch upon the report and was informed by an HHS spokesperson that the change was based mostly on improving user experience of the website.
“The pages were removed on Dec. 6, 2017 because content was not mobile-friendly and very rarely used,” the HHS spokesperson informed ThinkProgress on Monday. “Before we update any of the information… we engage in a comprehensive audit and use analysis process that includes reviewing other federal consumer health websites to ensure we are not duplicating efforts or presenting redundant information.” In spite of eradicating such essential info from its web site, the HHS did not announce the change in December.
The HHS spokesperson informed ThinkProgress that folks ought to examine WomensHealth.gov/cancer the place the knowledge on the topic, they are saying, is displayed in a way more user-friendly format. Though the WomensHealth.gov/most cancers shares details about cervical, ovarian, and uterine most cancers, it doesn’t have a separate vertical for breast most cancers in any respect. The web site mentions within the decrease half of the web page that it was up to date on March 20 however no modifications have been made to incorporate info on breast most cancers thus far.
According to the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project, the OWH solely has info on mammogram breast most cancers screenings left. Everything else like “informational pages and factsheets about the disease, including symptoms, treatment, risk factors, and public no or low-cost cancer screening programs” is absent from the web site.
In addition to eradicating content material on breast most cancers, the OWH not exhibits breast cancer-relevant info regarding the Affordable Care Act. The challenge famous in its report that the eliminated materials included “provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require protection of no-cost breast most cancers screenings for sure women, in addition to hyperlinks to a free most cancers screening program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” For women from low-income backgrounds, this info is vital to discovering no to low-cost breast most cancers screenings.
Crucial info on breast most cancers screenings is famous to be integral for spotting the disease in its early stages and treating it earlier than it spreads and turns into deadly. Without such important info available for web customers, there is a disturbing probability that some individuals might stay unaware concerning the widespread illness. For American women, that would spell havoc. As BreastCancer.org notes in its research, “invasive breast cancer” will hit 1 out of 8 American women throughout their lives.
Jarring as it might be to not see breast most cancers info on the OWH web site, this is not the primary time that the HHS has altered its webpages. In March, the Sunlight Foundation’s Web Integrity Project additionally famous that important information on health for bisexual and lesbian women had been faraway from the OWH. The Hill reported that an HHS spokesperson stated that the knowledge had been moved. “You can now find lesbian and bisexual health content by searching for relevant health topics on the WomensHealth.gov website,” the spokesperson stated.
It’s potential that the HHS is just shifting its content material round right into a extra consolidated type. But these unannounced and unexplained format and knowledge modifications might find yourself inflicting extra confusion than readability. And that could possibly be disastrous. After all, with regards to human health, lack of discover and path is the very last thing you want.