A dark stripe on the nail can be an unexpected symptom of skin cancer
A beautician is raising awareness of a rare symptom of skin cancer which she discovered while giving her client a manicure.
The nail technician said she noticed one of her regular clients had a “straight dark vertical stripe” down her nail. Immediately she told her to get it checked, as she believed it could be melanoma.
Her client was later diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer, which had spread to her lymph nodes. The nail artist said, “her prognosis is not good”.
She is now urging people to pay attention to abnormalities on their nails.
“Odd changes in your nails can very likely be nothing to worry about,” she said. “But sometimes it is an indication of a very serious disease.”
A Facebook post recounting the story was published by Lisa Harrison Williams on 14 August – it is believed that Lisa is the nail artist who made the discovery.
Williams’ post, which has been shared more than 141,000 times, encourages others to pay attention to changes in their fingernails and toenails and also the nails of loved ones.
“Early diagnosis can make all the difference in the world,” she wrote in the post.
Melanoma skin cancer is the fifth most common type of cancer in the UK. People with a skin change, new mole or a change in the shape or size of an existing mole should speak to their GP. According to Cancer Research UK, moles with three or more different shades of brown or black are “particularly likely to be melanoma”.
Cancer Research UK agrees that one lesser-known symptom is a dark area under the nail – especially if it is getting bigger and is not due to an injury.
Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, told The Huffington Post: “Linear melanonychia (linear pigmentation) in a single nail should be treated with caution as it can be a sign of melanoma within the nail.”
She added that it can “also occur commonly in dark-skinned individuals”.
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