Nina's parents died when she was a baby so she was being looked after by her relatives. When Nina was 9 she started to experience discomfort in her left leg, but was not taken to see a doctor. Behly, Nina's grandmother, visited and found her very unwell - her leg had become swollen and was covered in open sores. Behly took Nina back home with her to Bamenda in North-West Cameroon and took her to a local hospital immediately. The pain in her legs could not be explained so she was referred to another hospital where she was diagnosed with Kaposi Sarcoma. Kaposi sarcoma is a rare cancer which effects the skin, mouth and occasionally the internal organs, and can be seen in both adults and children.
Nina was given treatment to stop the Kaposi Sarcoma from spreading and put on anti-viral drugs by a dedicated team of nurses. After 6 weeks she returned home where she would be more comfortable and cared for by her grandmother. Nina will never make a full recovery, but she is visited regularly by a palliative care outreach nurse, who is supported by World Child Cancer, to improve her quality of life and ensure she doesn't suffer unnecessarily.
Joe Dixon, Programmes Manager met Nina in May 2016 and was able to catch up with her again a year later. Nina is now 13 and is able to walk much more comfortably than the first time Joe met her and play with other children on the ward. Doctors explained that although Nina was doing much better and had responded well to chemotherapy, she had relapsed and the skin lesions on her legs had returned in the past few months.
As Nina was walking well and was not in too much discomfort, doctors had decided to delay any further treatment. They were concerned that Nina could start to build up a resistance to the chemotherapy or could become seriously ill from the toxicity of certain drugs. Any treatment needed to be carefully balanced with her anti-viral drugs. When Nina does undergo further treatment, the doctors hope that it will prevent, or induce regression.
In the meantime, palliative care nurse, Joel Kaah, will continue to see Nina on a regular basis making sure she is comfortable and has a good quality of life.