Nail Cancer (Subungual Melanoma): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment (pictures)

IF your nail looks like this, If that line just appeared on your nail, If the line is getting wider and irregular,


You may be having what is called Subungual Melanoma.

Pls do NOT ignore it.

This is Nail Cancer.

It can spread and kill you within 5years.

Nail Cancer (Subungual Melanoma)

What is subungual melanoma?

This is a fancy medical term for cancer of the nail unit. It is a type of skin cancer that affects the nails.

It can be easily mistaken for a fungal nail infection, a simple “bruise” or bleeding under the nail that fails to heal.

But please see a doctor.

Subungual melanoma

Why does Nail Cancer happen?

We don’t know the exact reason. But these things increase your risk for it:

Previous injury to the fingers/toes,

If you have skin moles,

It may run in families,

If you have a weak immune system like HIV,

If you have family members who have melanoma.

Common symptoms:

brown/black lines on nail,

lines increase in size over time,

darkening around affected nail,

nail may be brittle, split or crack,

nail may bleed, or be painful,

nail injuries may fail to heal,

nail may deteriorate (nail dystrophy),

nail changes may affect skin.

Some people may have had similar lines on their nails since they were a kid or may have had it for many years – please do NOT worry about that.

If it were nail cancer, the line on the nail will be spreading and becoming wider, the nails will change and it may split/bleed/break.

But if you have any concerns about your nails, especially IF you have a line on your nail which is spreading, getting wider, and your nail is changing- becoming brittle, cracking, splitting or bleeding- PLEASE go and see a doctor.

Or a dermatologist.

They will check it for you.

What will doctor do?

The doctor can take a sample of the nail for a biopsy- that means some part of the nail would be taken to the laboratory and examined. If cancer cells are confirmed, you may lose that nail or the finger/toe may be amputated.

This is just to save your life.

On a final note, this is what nails can end up looking like if nothing is done quickly.

Please DO NOT WAIT till things get to this point.

Do something now. See a doctor and get your nails checked out.

You may be saving your own life.

Nail cancer

More pictures of nail cancer.

Thanks for reading.

Dr Olufunmilayo


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