Kiri Allan’s cancer battle spurs surge of East Coast women to get tested

Surgeries in Tairawhiti have reported a noticeable uptake in women getting smear tests after Kiri Allan shared her cervical cancer diagnosis last month.

The Doctors Te Whare Hapara practice manager Paula Neshausen said there had “absolutely” been an increase.

“It’s been very noticeable and they all talk about Kiri. I think it has encouraged women who haven’t had a smear for a long time to come in.

“And it is getting people to talk about it openly, which is really cool.”

Three Rivers Medical centre clinical nurse leader Heather Besseling said there had been “quite a surge” of women coming in to get tested.

“It’s a five-minute session, and it is free for Māori women. This is the surge we should have had a long time ago.”

In honour of Allan, the Gisborne Family Planning Clinic is offering free smear tests this month.

The clinic has reported an immediate uptake of the offer and women are encouraged to book an appointment at the Childers Rd clinic.

One Gisborne woman said she had a smear test after putting it off for five years.

“The nurse told me they’ve had a throng of Māori women going in for smears since Kiri’s story came out.

“She said they were the group of women they normally can’t motivate. Good on you Kiri and thank you.”

This week, Allan has revealed the grim prognosis for her fight against cervical cancer – just a 13 per cent chance of survival.

A post shared by Kiri Allan (@kiri_allan_mp)

Allan shared the news, part of her ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the importance of regular pap smears and also of the inequities in health care in New Zealand.

Speaking to Newshub’s The Hui, Allan said that she discovered during her diagnosis that Māori women have a dramatically lower rate of survival than others.

“When I got told that I had cervical cancer, they said for somebody with stage 3C you have a 40 per cent chance of survival. As a wāhine Māori, I have about a 13.3 per cent chance of survival,” she said.

“Do the maths on that. I don’t know why that is, how that is, but it’s wrong. The disparity is too much, people are dying far too young. This is a korero that needs to happen again and again and again.”

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