Getting your nails done can be a real gift sometimes, a form of self-care and self-love that just makes you feel good. Back in high school, I remember one of my friends would spend her allowance on getting a fresh manicure and it was one leisure in life that she thoroughly enjoyed. The nail salon is really one of the most relaxing places to be and it most certainly isn’t a place you would expect to receive negative news about your health.
Lisa Harrison Williams, a nail shop worker, recently had a walk-in client ask her for a manicure dark enough to cover up a dark vertical stripe on her nail bed. The unusual marking caught William’s attention. She asked her client about it, who had been told that it could be due to calcium deficiency or it was simply hereditary. Luckily, Williams knew it was something more.
Despite the fact that she didn’t want to scare her client, Williams did what needed to be done and told the woman to seek medical attention ASAP. Turns out the stripe on her client’s nail was actually an indicator of Melanoma, cancer of the skin. Shocked by these turn of events, the client left the salon and called back to let Williams know that the irregular mark under her name was Subungual Melanoma.
Subungual Melanoma is a rare but aggressive form of cancer commonly found on the nail bed and it is one of the only types of melanomas to not be caused by the sun. Pigmentation of the vertical line will spread across the skin and surrounding tissue. It commonly causes issues such as nail cracking, nail brittleness, or bleeding of the nail. The most common treatment for this type of cancer is surgery. Williams shared the story publicly as a cautionary tale as early diagnosis can make all the difference.
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