I thought I had a ‘bruise’ on my nail – it turned out to be deadly cancer
She hit the nail on the head.
A manicurist in Scotland has been praised for discovering a thin brown streak under a client’s nail, leading to a diagnosis of melanoma.
Stacey Boss, 32, said she shrugged off the mark on her right thumbnail for a while, until her nail technician discovered it in November 2019 and refused her a manicure, urging her to see a doctor instead.
“I was very confused,” the record label owner admitted to Kennedy News. “I knew nothing about how melanoma skin cancer could be in a nail bed. It was mind-boggling.”
She initially thought it was a bruise under her fake nails.
“I had just gotten used to it, and it wasn’t until someone pointed it out that it was a big, shocking moment,” she explained.
The mother of one of them visited her GP before being referred to a dermatologist, who diagnosed her with subungual melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer found under the nail.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the condition can be treated if detected early, but melanoma can be fatal if diagnosed too late.
Melanoma of the nail often presents as a dark streak in the nail bed, a split nail, a raised nail, or a bump under the nail, according to the dermatology association — symptoms Boss said she experienced.
“It was like a stripe. It was like someone had marked my nail with permanent marker from the cuticle to the top,” Boss described.
She said it kept growing up on her thumbnail.
“It was thin and skinny and almost like someone had put a dent on it. By the end it looked like a smiley face because of the shade of the line, the dent and the way the cuticle grows,” she added.
In March, Boss had her nail and part of the bone removed and had a nail bed biopsy.
There were some delays in her final diagnosis due to the coronavirus pandemic, she explained.
She faces more tests to make sure the melanoma hasn’t spread to other parts of her body, such as the lymph nodes.
She described the removal as a “relief”, admitting that she felt something was wrong with her even before she was diagnosed.
“I had anxiety, my whole body changed, the line never went away, it was always there,” Boss recalls.
There’s a bit of a silver lining to all this, though — the music fan claims she’s getting a discount on her shellac French manicure because she has one less fingernail.
She also hopes to raise awareness about this type of melanoma and encourage others to pay attention to subtle body changes, especially their nails.
“The nail technician may have saved my life. She was well trained and was very aware, more so than I was,” Boss said.
Boss isn’t the only person to receive this diagnosis — in 2019, a Chicago beauty queen revealed a similar discovery.
Karolina Jasko said she noticed a thin black line, including on her thumbnail.
She went to the doctor for an unrelated infection and a biopsy was ordered.
Her entire nail bed has been removed. A skin graft from her groin was used to cover the finger.