We’d like to think that we’re all well aware of all the potentially life-threatening symptoms of cancer. Often, finding a lump, feeling run-down, or noticing a change in your body, can start ringing alarm bells.
But every so often, a symptom makes itself apparent that we wouldn’t usually associate with the terrible disease. And as terrifying as it is to think that you may not immediately recognise a symptom of cancer, being made aware of it the only way to make sure we’re fully informed.
Not noticing an unexpected symptom is what happened to one unnamed lady who was going to get her nails done. Having arrived at the salon, her nail technician, Jean Skinner, noticed a mark on her nail bed that could be potentially life-threatening.
Jean, who is a beauty technician from Uckfield, East Sussex, shared a post on Facebook, retelling the moment when the client came in to have her nails done, before making reference to the symptom.
The customer had a long black mark down the middle of her nail, but at first, was convinced it was nothing sinister.
Jean wrote, “She said as soon as she sat down…I need a nail colour dark enough to cover this stripe. The nail salons “diagnosed” her a few different ways. Some said it was a lack of calcium. Some said it was hereditary. At least one had told her it was a blood blister.”
But Jean continued saying that she immediately realised it was something far more threatening.
She wrote, “This is melanoma!!! I did not want to frighten her but I told her she needed to see her doctor immediately!
And terrifyingly, Jean’s diagnosis turned out to be sadly accurate. She continued, “She called me today to tell me that yes it was a very aggressive melanoma that has already spread to her lymph nodes!! Her prognosis is not good!”
The horrible incident left Jean urging her Facebook followers and anyone who noticed the post, “Please pay attention to abnormalities in your nailbeds! Odd changes in your nails can very likely be nothing to worry about! But sometimes it is an indication of a very serious disease!
According to the NHS, the technical description for a dark stripe on the nail is linear melanonychia – and often, it can be harmless.
“Dark stripes running down the nails (linear melanonychia) are fairly common in black people over 20 years of age, and in most cases it’s perfectly normal.”
But the health service advises that if you do notice a strange mark on your nail, it’s always better to get it checked out as there is a chance it too could turn out to be a form of skin cancer.
The website continued, “However, dark stripes shouldn’t be ignored because it can sometimes be a form of skin cancer that affects the nail bed, called subungual melanoma. It’s important that your doctor checks it to rule out melanoma.
“Subungual melanoma usually only affects one nail. It will also cause the stripe to change in appearance – for example, it may become wider or darker over time and the pigmentation may also affect the surrounding skin (the nail fold).”