The Mighty Logo

Manicurist Shares Photo of Client's Nail to Show One Way Skin Cancer Can Hide

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Going to the nail salon is usually a fun and relaxing experience, but that wasn’t the case for a woman who recently visited a U.K. salon and made the startling discovery she had skin cancer.

Jean Skinner, a nail technician from Uckfield, East Essex, posted on Facebook that a walk-in client asked her for a dark color to cover a stripe down her nail. The client had been told it was everything from a lack of calcium to a blood blister, so she never paid much attention to it.

As soon as Skinner saw the line, she knew exactly what it was: melanoma.

Melanoma skin cancer nail

Skinner’s Facebook post, which was shared with her client’s permission, reads, “I did not want to frighten her but I told her she needed to see her doctor immediately! She called me today to tell me that yes it was a very aggressive melanoma that has already spread to her lymph nodes!”

According to the National Health Service , “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.”

However, dark lines shouldn’t be ignored because they could be a form of skin cancer called subungual melanoma. It’s similar to how a mole would appear on the body, but instead, a dark band appears and slowly starts to spread across the nail. This melanoma isn’t usually caused by the sun, but rather from injury or trauma, and often affects middle-aged to older adults with darker skin.

Skinner hopes her post will get others to pay attention to abnormalities in their nails (and the nails of others) because it could be a sign of something serious.

“Early diagnosis can make all the difference in the world,” she added.

Photo courtesy of Jean Skinner on Facebook

Originally published: September 12, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home