Skip to Content

Melanoma Can Strike Your Nails: Here's How to Check

SUNDAY, May 16, 2021 -- When checking your body for signs of skin cancer, don't overlook your nails.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) points out that skin cancer -- including melanoma, the deadliest type -- can develop under and around the fingernails and toenails. Though it's rare, it's more common in older people with darker skin.

Risk factors include personal or family history of melanoma or nail trauma.

"When found early, melanoma -- even on the nails -- is highly treatable," said Dr. Skylar Souyoul, a board-certified dermatologist in Norwell, Mass. "The best way to find skin cancer on your nails early, when it's most treatable, is to know what to look for and regularly check your nails."

Souyoul recommends looking for:

  • Dark streaks. They may look like a brown or black band. They're often on the thumb or big toe, but can develop on any nail. Nails might also have a band of color, which can be wide and irregular or dark and narrow.
  • Dark skin next to the nail. When the skin around nails is darker, it could be a sign of advanced melanoma.
  • Nail lifting from fingers or toes. The nail begins to separate from the nail bed and the white edge at the top will look longer as the nail lifts.
  • Splitting. Watch for nails that split down the middle.
  • A bump or nodule under your nails.

"Nail melanoma is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage than melanoma on the skin, making it more dangerous for your health," Souyoul said in an AAD news release. "If you notice any changes to your nails, including a new dark band on your nail, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist."

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

Sources

  • American Academy of Dermatology, news release, May 11, 2021

© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Read this next

Many 'High-Risk' Americans Unconcerned About Skin Cancer: Poll

FRIDAY, June 18, 2021 -- It's long been known the sun's rays can cause skin cancer. But a new poll shows that only about 30% of American adults say they're concerned about...

Many Americans Wrong About Sun's Skin Cancer Dangers: Poll

TUESDAY, May 4, 2021 -- You might think everybody knows how to protect themselves from the sun's harmful rays, but a new survey reveals that one-third of Americans lack a basic...

New Hope Against a Rare but Incurable Eye Cancer

TUESDAY, April 20, 2021 -- A cutting-edge experimental drug cuts nearly in half the risk of death among patients with a rare but aggressive cancer of the eye, new clinical trial...

More News Resources

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Whatever your topic of interest, subscribe to our newsletters to get the best of Drugs.com in your inbox.