Having recovered from her own cancer scare, Nicci Kuiti has made it her job to encourage other women to have cervical smears.
Ms Kuiti works as a health promotion adviser for MidCentral District Health Board, where she uses her own close encounter with cancer as a means to educate others in why regular smears are so important.
Five years ago at the age of 26, Ms Kuiti, like many other women, had never had a cervical smear.
“I knew that I was fit and healthy, I played a lot of sport and thought I knew my body well. I didn't think it was necessary to have a smear, and I was also slightly embarrassed.”
But her partner persuaded her to be screened, and it was revealed she had carcinoma in situ, or CIN 3.
“What CIN 3 or carcinoma in situ means is that the cells were pre-cancerous, however were all contained within the skin covering the cervix.
"So I didn't actually have cervical cancer, but still needed immediate treatment.
“It was such a relief for me to finally have it done, and I was appreciative of the fact that something was found early on and was able to be treated.”
Around the time that Nicci was going through this experience, a health promotion job in the cervical screening programme came up, and she seized the opportunity.
“I know there are many women who have the same attitude I used to have and I think it is important to encourage them to regard cervical screening more seriously.”
- Manawatu Standard
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