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More than 47,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year in the UK, but a simple DIY test could be used to help spot the condition early on.
An oncology nurse advisor is urging people to try out an at-home test to see if they have ‘finger clubbing’ – a common symptom of lung cancer.
The ‘diamond gap’ finger test – also known as the Schamroth window test – involves putting your index fingernails together to see if there is a gap between the cuticles.
No gap can signify finger clubbing.
This happens because the nail bed becomes soft , then nails begin to curve more when looking at them from the sides and – in the final stages – the ends of the fingers get larger and swell up, too.
According to Cancer Research UK, finger clubbing happens in more than 35% of people with lung cancer.
awareness# 2 weeks ago i posted this pic on my wall asking if anyone had seen nails like this. A few google post later and i was urged to go to the Doctor. A tad extreme i thought…. I was rushed…
This clubbing is thought to be caused by fluid collecting in the soft tissues at the ends of the fingers. But it’s unknown why it happens.
Emma Norton from Bupa UK said, “Most people with lung cancer don’t know that their fingers are clubbing unless they know specifically to look out for it.
“But the Schamroth window test is a really easy way to check for potential underlying conditions.
“The test is used by medical professionals as a partial method of confirming conditions, but you can also do the test yourself – and it only takes a few seconds.”
Of course, it’s worth pointing out that having clubbed fingers does not necessarily mean you have cancer.
But catching finger clubbing early can help to catch and diagnose a disorder – which, in the case of cancer, could be life-saving.
What are the symptoms of lung cancer?
According to the NHS, the main symptoms of lung cancer include:
- a cough that doesn’t go away after 2 or 3 weeks
- a long-standing cough that gets worse
- chest infections that keep coming back
- coughing up blood
- an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
- persistent breathlessness
- persistent tiredness or lack of energy
- loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
Sadly, lung cancer is often diagnosed at later stages, because symptoms usually occur when cancer has spread from the lungs to other parts of the body.