Nina Vekaria

Nina Vekaria was born in 1959 in Kenya. Her family moved to the UK in 1963. Nina trained as a nurse at Preston Royal Infirmary and now manages clinical trials there. She discusses perceptions of cancer in the South Asian community and how it is often referred to as a “knot”. She reflects on how hard it was caring for her mum with terminal cancer whilst working on clinical trials for cancer.

Nina Vekaria when nursing (Credit: Nina Vekaria)

Image credit: Nina Vekaria

Listen to Nina talk about the difficulty of balancing caring for her mum in a hospice and working on cancer trials.



Audio Transcript: 


It’s not talked about in our culture. You hide it. You don’t use the term 'cancer', you use, like it’s a 'knot', somewhere in your body. It just needs sorting out, like I’ve got a knot here. That sort of language. I also know that when I was working, we had cancer patients that were ethnics, in particular breast cancer; they wouldn’t want to be seen coming to the cancer unit. They went through the back way into the unit. With my mum, she didn’t want anyone to know, which was very difficult. I became the main carer because I was the one who was there and I was the nurse. They were very reliant on me, on decisions and things like that. So I lived through my mum's cancer; in fact I lived in the hospice, they gave me a room in the hospice the last week. I even was allowed to work from here. I took my laptop and I worked on clinical studies, setting up cancer trials, with my mum next door, on a cancer that was very similar to my mum's. It was hard. And speaking to consultants there, who I work with at this hospital as well. So it became very, that’s all it was: my mum, cancer, hospital. It was all inter-relatedwork and looking after my mum.