Cervical screening support system “saved my life” says Nikki

Nikki Kaukau
Nikki Kaukau is grateful for the support she received through her colposcopy experience.
After watching her mother pass away from cervical cancer, Nikki Kaukau was very worried when the results of her own cervical smear test were abnormal.

Nikki ignored Waikato District Health Board’s (DHB's) recurring colposcopy clinic letters in the hope “the problem would disappear”.

“I was freaked out,” says Nikki. “That’s what stopped me from going. I didn’t want to hear the worst of the worst, so I hid. I thought the longer I stayed away from the colposcopy clinic, the more likely my abnormal cells were to go away.”

That was until Waikato DHB cervical screening coordinator Nancy appeared on Nikki’s doorstep to explain more about the abnormal cells and why a colposcopy was necessary.

“I gave her a ride to the clinic when she had no transport. I talked with the anaesthetist about her concerns, and I got her back home after her surgery,” says Nancy. “We walked alongside her the whole way. That’s what we are here for.”

Nikki isn’t alone in her fear of colposcopy. It’s one of the barriers that prevents a number of women from attending colposcopy clinics. Waikato Hospital holds about five colposcopy clinics per week and at every clinic at least one woman does not attend. Many women also fail to come in for their six-month follow-up.

“Our message to these women is don’t let the fear that you might have cervical cancer stop you, because coming in for your colposcopy can prevent you from getting to that stage. We will support you in any way we can,” says Nancy.

Nikki says after getting the information she needed to go in for her colposcopy, her life is completely changed. “The support saved my life. The weight is off my shoulders. I have a new job, I am happy with my kids, I feel free.

“I ask all my girlfriends ‘have you had a smear test?’ Not because I am okay and you may not be, but because I wasn’t okay and you may not be. Having your colposcopy can get you the treatment you need, if you need it. I would do anything to encourage women to go.”

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Page last updated: 13 December 2013