Tips To Spotting Deadly Form Of Nail Cancer

LOS ANGELES ( — An unusual-looking stripe under your nail can be just as dangerous as a shape-shifting mole — both, doctors say, are common signals of cancer.

Dr. Dana Stern, a dermatologist specializing in treating the nail, says a brown line on your nail could be a sign of melanoma.

The dermatologist warns people to be vigilant. Women who consistently get their nails manicured should check for changes on the nails when the polish comes off. More than likely, it could be a bruise, but if you don’t remember the injury or that dark area doesn’t got away then you should see a doctor.

The thumb, index finger and big toe are the most common nails to be affected. 

If you notice a line under your nail, you should see a doctor if the stripe:

  • is dark
  • has blurred borders
  • changes shape

Stern says treatment can include removing the melanoma and surrounding tissue to amputation of a finger tip.

The dermatologist says there’s no evidence that links cosmetic procedures and nail cancer.

For tips on spotting nail abnormalities visit Medline Plus.

For more information about Melanoma visit

And for general information about cancer, including melanoma on the nail bed, visit


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