Emergency Management Minister Kiri Allan diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer

Publish Date
Tuesday, 6 April 2021, 11:43AM

Labour MP and Minister for Emergency Management Kiri Allan has revealed she has been diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer.

"So now the fight of my life begins," she said in a Facebook post this morning.

"To be honest, I'm one of those gals that hates anything to do with 'down there'. And have taken a 'see no evil, hear no evil' type approach to that part of my body."

She said her last smear test was when cervical cancer campaigner Talei Morrison, just prior to death, rallied her whānau, her friends, the kapa haka community and ultimately NZ to campaign for women - and particularly Māori women - to get their smear tests done regularly.

"Talei's call to wāhine and whānau to get tested was the push I needed to get it done."

Allan said last year, during the election campaign, she noticed she was getting a lot of pain in her back, stomach and legs.

"I put it down to lots of driving, working long hours and the general stress of campaigns etc - so, I got my partner to give me a few mirimiri and forgot about it.

"Earlier this year, I realised I was finding it hard to sit for a lengthy period of time. Always in a bit of pain. I started running to try and move the lower back area a little bit. Nothing seemed to take the pain away."

In late January, she started menstruating and didn't stop. She put off going to see a doctor, telling herself "that stuff usually sorts itself out".

But after four weeks, she said she went for a check-up at the GP, who put her on some medication.

"At about 6 weeks of menstruating with no change since the GP visit, I raised it with my colleague and friend Ayesha Verrall, who is a doctor, asking if the bleeding was a little odd.

"She asked a few more questions and I told her about the pain. She urged me, pleaded with me: 'Kiri, please, please, please prioritise this and go to the doctor tomorrow.'

"She made some recommendations and the next day I found myself having an ultrasound."

That ultrasound, she said, found a 3cm growth - she was told it was "probably benign".

"But the doctor made arrangements for me to go to the hospital the following day at the Women's Clinic. That day also happened to be the day of the tsunamis and earthquakes."

That day hospital tests revealed a 6cm tumour. Allan then immediately returned to the Beehive to front a nationally televised press conference on the latest tsunami warnings.

Since then, she said her life has been a whirlwind of MRIs, CT PET scans, and preparing for chemo and radiotherapy, and any other therapy needed.

Allan said often, people's first questions is: "Is there anything I can do?"

"My answer now is yes. Please, please, please - encourage your sisters, your mothers, your daughters, your friends - please #SmearYourMea - it may save your life - and we need you right here."

 

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.