A SUPER fit Irish pole dancing champ has opened up about her cervical cancer diagnosis to spread awareness around the devastating illness.

Terri Walsh is encouraging women to have regular smear tests, saying “cancer can happen to anyone”, no matter how fit and healthy you are.

The dancer, who uses the stage name Terri Fierce, was given the news by doctors last May.

The Cork native had suspected something was wrong in the years leading up the the diagnosis, after experiencing some common symptoms.

The 32-year-old explained: “I had symptoms of bleeding for a long time, but when I went to the doctors over the years they weren’t overly concerned. I had to ask for a smear test in 2017, and I was finally diagnosed in May 2018.”

Initially Terri was scared by her prognosis, fearing what lay ahead.

She recalled: “Of course I was in shock. I knew something wasn’t right. It’s always a frightening word: Cancer. I’ve had many dark days, but I have a wonderful support system of close friends, and of course my students at my studio, so I’ve always remained positive that I can beat this disease.”

Terri decided to be open about her diagnosis in order to help spread awareness around the illness, which effects hundreds of Irish women every year.

She said: “I decided to share my story to raise awareness which in itself was a battle for me because I’m a very private person.

“However, having spoken to a few close friends about my diagnosis, I realised that so many women put off having their smear tests done and ignore symptoms.

“Two of my friends had never had a smear test and were in their late 30s. I wondered how many more people I could help by sharing my story on a public platform.”

Terri received a huge response after opening up about the diagnosis on her social media accounts.

She continued: “Since sharing my story I’ve had around 50 mails from women who have booked their tests and some of them have needed further treatment. I’ve also been happy to answer questions or share my experience via mails — anything I can do to raise awareness is a good thing.”

So far, Terri has undergone a colposcopy, a NETZ (excision) treatment and a lymph node dissection. She is currently waiting on test results which will reveal if the treatment has worked.

Terri has also been using a number of alternative treatments, along with changing her lifestyle and cutting out toxic habits.

She explained: “I’ve believed in the power of plant-based whole foods and organic raw juices for years but when I was diagnosed I really put this diet into practice. I cut out alcohol, oils, refined sugars and also cut a lot of toxic practices and people from my life.

“I reduced my stress levels, started meditating and I started to appreciate my body more. I tried a few other alternative remedies too including CBD oil, and I know this combination really has helped me to feel better than I have in years.

“I believe in helping your body heal from the inside in conjunction with the recommended treatment from your oncologist.”

Terri, who impressed Simon Cowell on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014, hasn’t let her diagnosis affect her extremely active life.

She said: “I still teach my classes, I still train and I still run my business. There have been days when I have felt low, it’s been hard to always be positive in the months of waiting for tests and results.

“But my classes always lift me up as does my boyfriend and the best friends a girl could ask for.”

The pole fitness world champ has vowed to beat the disease no matter what.

Terri said: “I am looking forward to the all-clear so I can continue chasing my dreams and ambitions — 2019 is going to be Fierce!”