We have all been taught that any changes in a freckle or mole, with respect to color, size or shape, should be checked out immediately. A dermatologist will know whether the changes are suspicious looking, and require a biopsy. Waiting to have such changes checked by a professional, leaves you open to the possibility of a skin cancer going undetected and becoming potentially life-threatening.
Most people, however, are unaware of the warning signs of cancerous tissue under the fingernails. Melanomas in the fingernail area is more common amongst African Americans, but is possible in every demographic of the population.
What are the warning signs to look for? The following video will go into greater detail about these potentially deadly masses. The typical manifestation of such a cancer appears as a black stripe in the nail. Although such a streak may not be cancerous, it should be checked by a dermatologist, particularly if it gets larger or darker.
If cancerous cells are found early enough, a removal of the nail and the cancerous tissue underneath may be sufficient. Waiting too long may result in amputation of the tip of one’s finger. The worse case scenario, as with any unchecked cancer cells, is that it metastasizes to other organs, which can result in deadly consequences.
In the following footage, Dr. Dana Stern who specializes in cancer of the nails, discusses what to look out for in more depth. She says that the nail matrix is affected by this type of cancer. I found this video to be most informative in understanding what to look out for, when it comes to nail health.