A nail technician has shared a photo online of her client's nail with a dark stripe down the middle to urge people to be aware of the little-known symptom of deadly skin cancer.
Jean Skinner, from Essex, posted the image on Facebook and explained that the woman had initially dismissed the mark as a blood blister.
However, Jean explains she immediately knew that it probably indicated melanoma - – the most serious form of skin cancer – and advised her to seek urgent medical help.
She wrote that the client called her to say she had since been diagnosed with aggressive melanoma, and that it has spread to her lymph nodes.
Dark stripes on the nail can be a sign of a type of skin cancer that occurs under the fingernails called subungual melanoma.
The client had dismissed the stripe as a blood blister or a sign of a calcium deficiency until the nail technician urged her to seek medical advise – then she was diagnosed with skin cancer
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Jean posted: 'I had a walk-in nail client a couple weeks ago. She had a straight dark vertical stripe down her nail. She said "I need a colour dark enough to cover this stripe".
The woman had been told by others the mark could be a blood blister or due to a calcium deficiency.
'I did not want to frighten my client, but I told her she needed to see her doctor immediately,' she wrote.
'She called me today to tell me that, yes, the dark stripe indicated a very aggressive melanoma, and that it has already spread to her lymph nodes. Her prognosis is not good.'
More than 70,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma each year in the US, the American Cancer Society estimates.
In the UK that number is around 13,300 people a year, according to Cancer Research.
Pay attention to nail changes
Symptoms that most people think of when they think of skin cancer are change in appearance to moles and the emergence of lumps and ulcers.
Jean cautioned people to take note of changes in their nail beds too.
'Please pay attention to abnormalities in your nail beds! Odd changes in your nails can very likely be nothing to worry about! But sometimes it is an indication of a very serious disease,' she said.
'And please keep an eye on the nail beds – toes and fingers – of your elderly loved ones and your loved ones that aren't physically able to notice changes in the nail beds. Early diagnosis can make all the difference in the world!'
A Facebook user responded with a photo of a line down her nail, admitting that she was scared. She later provided an update that she had visited her GP and had an urgent referral to see a dermatologist marked urgent.
WHAT IS SUBUNGUAL MELANOMA?
It is crucial to get dark streaks examined by a doctor,
If you have dark skin, it's fairly common to have streaks of the pigment melanin down your fingernails, according to NHS Choices.
However, they shouldn't be ignored, as dark stripes may sometimes be a form of skin cancer called subungual melanoma.
It often starts as a brown or black streak under a toenail or fingernail. A person may mistake it for a bruise.
This usually only affects one nail, causing the stripe to change in appearance. It may then become wider or darker over time.
The pigmentation may also affect the surrounding skin.
Melanoma can be difficult to treat if it is not detected in its earliest stages, as it can spread to other organs.
An estimated 1.4 per cent of melanoma cases are those that affect the fingernail, including subungual melanoma, according to the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research.
Subungual melanoma comes from the nail matrix, which is where keratin originates.
Other nail-related cancers include ungula melanoma, which occurs underneath the nail plate, and periungual melanoma, which comes from the skin next to the nail plate.
What can other nail abnormalities be?
Changes in the colour, texture and thickness of your fingernails and toenails may indicate a problem with your health.
NHS Choices provides a handy visual guide to help you determine when a nail problem could give cause for you to visit your GP.
Pitted nails can be an indication of psoriasis or eczema
Discoloured nails can be caused by a yeast or fungal infection
Pitting on the surface of the fingernails may be a sign of any of the following conditions:
- Psoriasis – a long-term condition that tends to also cause red, flaky patches of skin
- Eczema – a long-term skin condition
- Reactive arthritis – where the immune system attacks the joints, muscles and other parts of the body after an infection
- Alopecia areata – patches of hair loss or total hair loss on the scalp or body that can come and go
A nail with a fungal infection can look ugly, as the nail often thickens and can turn white, black, yellow or green.
The nail can sometimes become brittle, with pieces of nail breaking off or even coming away from the toe or finger completely.
The nail bed may also become inflamed and painful, but this tends to suggest a yeast infection rather than a fungal one.
Ram’s horns nails, also called onychogryphosis, is a condition characterised by a thickening and lengthening of the fingernails or toenails
Ram's horn nails (called onychogryphosis) is a nail disorder that's more common in older people. It's possible for nails to become so overgrown, that they're very difficult to cut with conventional nail clippers.
Soaking the nails in water before cutting or regular chiropody can help, but sometimes the nails need to be removed by a podiatrist or doctor.
Spoon-shaped nails can be iron deficiency
Fingernails that curve inwards like spoons (koilonychia) can be perfectly normal in children but may be a sign of an underlying medical condition in adults.
- Iron-deficiency anaemia
- Raynaud's disease
- Lupus erythematosus
Illness or the cold can cause grooves
Grooves on the nails
Illness, injury or cold temperatures can stop nail growth and cause deep lines or grooves to form across the base of the nails (Beau's lines).
These may only be noticed when the lines have grown up the nail.
It takes about six months for a fingernail to fully grow out and six to 12 months for a toenail.
Unusually curved fingertips
Clubbing of the fingertips can run in families and be entirely harmless.
However, if it suddenly develops, it may be a sign of one of many underlying medical conditions, including:
Unusually curved fingertips may be nothing to worry about or caused by a number of medical conditions – if they start to club go see your GP
- Long-term lung disease or heart disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Cirrhosis of the liver
With clubbed fingertips, the fingernails curve over the top of the fingers. Normal nails should dip downwards towards the cuticle, creating a natural angle.
Streaks are usually just from splinters but if several nails are infected seek medical help
Little brown streaks
Little brown or red streaks under the fingernail are usually splinter haemorrhages.
These are lines of blood caused by tiny damaged blood vessels. Just a few splinters under one nail is nothing to worry about and is most likely due to the nail being injured.
However, if a few nails are affected, these splinters may be a sign of another condition, such as:
- Lupus erythematosus
- Endocarditis – an infection of the heart valves
Split nails can be caused by ageing, but may also be caused by infections or an underactive or overactive thyroid
Splitting of the finger nails
Brittle nails that easily split could just be a sign of ageing or may be caused by long-term exposure to water, or chemicals such as detergents and nail polish.
It may help to wear gloves to protect your hands in water, regularly moisturising the nails, and reducing the use of nail varnish and nail varnish remover.
Sometimes, brittle nails may be caused by:
- Repeated trauma to nails
- A fungal nail infection
- A skin condition called lichen planus
- Nail psoriasis
- An underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid
- Less commonly, reactive arthritis – an unusual reaction of the immune system after an infection
Ridging on nails is usually harmless
Vertical ridging is usually caused by ageing and can be compared to wrinkles developing on your skin.
The ridges run from the nail bed to the tip and generally start in one or two nails. Over time, the ridges can appear on all nails. Gentle filing and buffing may help to smooth them.
Nail lifting (called distal onycholysis) happens when the tip of the nail separates from the nail bed on the finger or toe.
It can be the result of psoriasis or a fungal disease, but is often due to overzealous manicures or cleaning under nails with sharp objects.
When the tip of the nail lifts it can be psoriasis or a fungal disease
The space under the nail can then become filled with bacteria, which turn the nail greenish-black.
Nail lifting can be treated by soaking the nail in diluted white vinegar or bottle sterilising solution containing sodium hypochlorite.
In the long-term, keeping the nails short will help to reduce any further trauma and allow the nail to grow out attached.
Use a soft nailbrush to clean your nails, don't clean under the nails where they meet the fingernail and avoid using sharp objects to clean under your nails.
Grooves are usually nothing to worry about
Longitudinal grooves usually run along the nail, from base to tip and are often caused by a digital myxoid cyst pressing on the nail matrix (where the nail is made).
A digital myxoid cyst is thought to be the result of wear and tear in the joint at the fingertip.
It's completely harmless and doesn't need treatment, unless it causes symptoms.
Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4909530/BEAUTICIAN-recognised-woman-s-nail-stripe-deadly.html