Nails and skin cancer
The most common discolouration of nails is due to trauma, as commonly caused by hitting the wrong nail with a hammer. Fungal infections and other diseases can also cause nail changes. A growth under the nail might be a simple wart but will likely appear in a similar way as a cancerous tumour would. This is because the nail and nail bed will often respond and look the same in different underlying causes. Cancer of the nail is often difficult to diagnose early. There are different cancers that can occur under nails. The most common cancer here is Squamous cell carcinomas. These present as a growth under or around the nail, often causing nail deformities. If linear lines are present these can be white but bleeding often causes irregular broken dark lines in the nail.
Melanomas of the nail and nail bed are more common in people with darker skin colour. It is also more likely to occur on the thumbs and big toes. Clues to an abnormal nail being caused by a melanoma or other cancer includes: No clear cause such as recent trauma. Changing or worsening abnormality of the nail. Irregular dark lines on the nail and bleeding with minimal trauma.
Diagnosis is often assisted by examining the nail with a dermatoscope. The final diagnosis is usually made after a biopsy of the tumour and confirmed by a histopathologist
If you or someone you know has an abnormal nail, please have this checked out by a health professional confident in the diagnosis and treatment of nails.