Melanomas that occur on the extremities –including nail, feet, and hands, is known to be the rarest skin cancer subtype. However, it might turn out highly aggressive at times.
Karolina Jasko has had a family history of melanoma. As such, it is her habit to pay utmost attention to her skin from time to time. Her mother who struggled with melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) twice has not recovered. She has always been conscious and keeps checking for any moles on Karolina’s skin. However, to their most feared dream, melanoma managed sneaking up in Karolina’s body in the spot where no one had suspected –her nails.
How does Nail Melanoma Look Like?
Dr. Vishal Patel –a leading assistant professor in the field of dermatology at the reputed George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington D.C., is skeptical that such cases of developing nail melanomas might be on the rise. This might be due to the overall increasing popularity of gel manicures requiring the nail polish to get hardened under the influence of UV light.
Dr. Patel explains, “It is like the equipment tanning bed for your nails.” While Patel was involved in Karolina’s case, he spoke about nail melanoma in general. He explained that the doctors are witnessing more number of patients with such cases –those not only having melanomas, but also skin cancers on areas including cuticles or the fingertips.
Jasko is a young 21-year-old student at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She first became aware of the spot on her nails in 2016. She used to get her nails done –once or twice a month for some years, completing the process with artificial nails being placed on top of her natural nails along with a gel polish cured with the help of UV light.
While it started out as a vertical straight line drawn with a pencil from the top to bottom of her nail, the mark started growing. Eventually, her nail became infected –red & swollen, leading her to the doctor. As the biopsy confirmed that it was melanoma, the portion of the nail was removed. While doctors assumed that it might be possible to remove the entire thumb, however, they were able to save the same. A skin graft that was taken out of her groin area is now covering the thumb with no nail underneath.
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