Shortland Street star Ngahuia Piripi has revealed her recent scare with breast cancer and says she's "still going through it".

The 27-year-old, who plays Esther Samuels on the long-running soap, revealed her struggle for the first time when speaking to the Woman's Day.

She says she discovered a lump in her right breast and went in secret to get it checked out, wanting to keep the ordeal private.

She took her 8-year-old daughter Owairea with her to the ultrasound appointment but when the results came in, she had to send her out of the room.

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"It was terrifying, You never think something like this is going to happen to you, but then it does," she told the magazine.

"I was so upset, I was crying. You can't help but think the worst in times like that, but then I realised that I just needed to pick myself up and do what I could to be there for all of my family."

The doctors suspected a fibroadenoma, a benign breast lesion which Piripi opted to have surgically removed just in case. However, it turned out to be a benign tumour which, if left untreated, could grow larger and - in rare cases - develop into cancer.

So, she says, "It's still ongoing; I'm still going through it at the moment. I'll need to have a second surgery to make sure everything is removed because this particular tumour can grow quite quickly, so they'll need to do it again just to be safe."

She says she's spoken about it publicly now in a bid to raise awareness and show fans that it's not just something that happens on Shorty Street.

"Don't be like me and think that it won't happen to you, be proactive because the fact is that this can happen to young people," she says. "Everyone needs to get off their butts and check themselves."