Australian model and Tv star Nikki Phillips has opened up about the cancer diagnosis which turned her world "upside down" and forced her to undergo potentially life-saving surgery.

The 29 year old was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2009 and the news prompted her to take a year-long career break to battle the disease.

Phillips has now spoken for the first time about her ordeal, revealing she underwent an operation as part of her treatment and she was eventually declared cancer-free in November (12).

She tells Australia's Cleo magazine, "Everything was turned upside down... My doctor informed me that the results of my (smear) test had come back irregular. Then she simply said, 'You know, I am just going to get straight to the point. You've got cervical cancer'... I didn't listen to a word she said after that. You think you're invincible so you don't think you're going to have cancer... I had a loop incision to remove the large cancerous cells on my cervix. After my surgery it was a waiting game."

Phillips insists the scare helped her re-evaluate her life and career, and she is now happily engaged to New Zealand musician Dane Rumble, who she met after her health crisis.