Kiri Allan reveals she has 13 pct chance of surviving cervical cancer

Kiri Allan has revealed she has just a 13 percent chance of surviving cervical cancer.

The Labour MP was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer in April. She has since used her diagnosis to raise awareness about the importance of regular pap smears and the inequality in New Zealand's health care which means Māori women are three times more likely to die from cervical cancer.

Speaking to The Hui on Monday, Allan said she found out about the low survival rate of cervical cancer for Māori women during her diagnosis.

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

"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."

The 37-year-old encouraged Māori women to speak more openly about their bodies and seek the medical care they need because "our people deserve our wahine, our people deserve our tāne, we deserve our orangatanga and our kids, they need us".

Since the introduction of the National Cervical Screening Programme, deaths from cervical cancer have dropped by more than 70 percent. But Māori women continue to have higher rates than non-Māori and are four times more likely to die from cervical cancer than European women. 

Allan's diagnosis with stage 3 cervical cancer has renewed calls for the introduction of a self-testing programme. 

With only 62 percent of eligible Māori accessing the current screening regime, medical experts say self-testing will save the lives of wāhine.

"We as wahine Maori, we are worth it, our whanaus deserve us. When you're Maori, this is how we do things, we're always used to running around after everybody and fixing things up. That's what we do, that's how we live our lives. But in order for us to do the things that our whanau need us to do, we have to take care of ourselves," Allan says.

Watch her full interview above.

Made with support from Te Māngai Pāho and NZ On Air.