It’s not uncommon to see changes in our skin from time to time. Bumps, lumps, and bruises, while often scary, are usually just your skin just going through normal processes. But in some cases, these changes in our skin are more of a warning sign than anything else; they’re our bodies telling us that something is wrong.
This strange bodily change is definitely one of those signs.
Have you ever noticed a black stripe on someone’s fingernail? Maybe you’ve noticed this type of marking develop on your own nail. This ominous-looking sign could have equally as foreboding consequences if this change isn’t looked at by a medical professional.
Cancerous tissues on the skin, known as melanomas, can develop under the fingernail. Studies have found that this effect happens more often in people of African descent, but it absolutely can happen to anyone, regardless of their race, gender, or anything else.
Found early enough, removal of the nail and the cancerous growth under it is sufficient for solving the problem. Leaving this warning symptom unchecked can cause cancer to metastasize to other organs, which can ultimately result in death.
Nail cancer isn’t cancer that you typically hear about, but this type of skin cancer shouldn’t be underestimated; nail cancer (or acral cancer) takes thousands of lives a year. A variety of the cancer was even thought to be the form of the disease that ultimately led to the death of a famous reggae singer, Bob Marley.
The most common nails to see this dark stripe under is the thumb, big toe, and index finger. There are also signs that the stripe is more than an under-the-nail bruise, including:
- If the stripe is very dark
- If the border of the stripe is blurred
- If there are changes in an existing stripe
- If the patient has a family history of cancer
Treatments of this cancer vary on the stage in which it has been caught. If discovered early enough, the nail tissue or nail may only have to be removed. If the cancer is fairly well-developed, the entire tip of the finger may need to be amputated.