What Is Nail Fungus
Have you ever had a finger or toenail that turned yellow, became thick and brittle, and generally looked different? If so, then youve probably had a fungal nail infection. The technical name for this condition is onychomycosis, and a fungus called dermatophyte often causes it. They are tiny organisms that live on the dead tissue of the skin, hair, and nails.
When these fungi get into the nails, they can cause the nails to become thick, yellow, or brittle. Nail fungus can also cause the nails to separate from the nail bed. In severe cases, nail fungus can lead to loss of the nail.
History Of Present Illness
There was no history of trauma or other possible causes. Initially, though the growth occurred along with intermittent pain, it did not attract the patients attention. She self-medicated the lesion with iodine without any relief. Four months prior to our visit, she consulted a dermatologist who treated her twice for chronic paronychia by nail avulsion and corresponding medication. Granulated tissue recurred along with deformity of the nail plate.
Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Subungual melanoma is most common in non-Caucasians, with both men and women having equal risk. Like other forms of melanoma, subungual melanoma can also spread to other parts of the body and is lethal. The key to diagnosis and early treatment is awareness. All healthcare workers, including nurses, should routinely examine the nails and maintain a high index of suspicion for any pigmented lesion on the nails. The only way to reduce the high mortality is an early referral to a dermatologist for a biopsy. Further, the nurse should educate patients on examining their skin and nails for unusual changes. Finally, both the nurse and the pharmacist should educate the public about using sunscreen when going outdoors and wearing protective clothing when going outdoors. Sunglasses are also recommended as the UV rays of the sun can damage the retinal cells.
For early lesions, the outcomes are good, but for advanced lesions, the outcomes are poor. Disease-free survival is not affected by the type of surgery on the nail. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the survival.
Read Also: How To Remove Nail Polish Stain From Carpet
What Does Nail Melanoma Look Like Skin Cancer Can Hide As Line On Nail
Karolina Jasko has a family history of melanoma, so she’s no stranger to paying attention to her skin. Her mother who battled the deadliest form of skin cancer twice and recovered has always been vigilant about checking Jaskos moles for any changes.
But melanoma was still able to sneak up on Jasko in a spot neither she nor her mom suspected: one of Jaskos nails.
Experts like Dr. Vishal Patel, assistant professor of dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., worry such cases may be on the rise with the popularity of gel manicures that require the polish to be hardened under ultraviolet light.
Its like tanning beds for your hands, Patel, who is also the director of the cutaneous oncology program at the GW Cancer Center, told TODAY. He was not involved in Jaskos case, but commented in general.
Were seeing a lot of patients having not only melanomas, but all types of skin cancers around the finger tips and the cuticles.
What Is It What Causes It
Nail cancer is a melanoma or skin cancer. Skin cancers occur when the skin is damaged by U.V exposure, from the sun or in tanning beds.
The ultra violet light triggers DNA changes and uncontrolled cell growth that can quickly spread throughout the body.
People with fair skin and a family history of melanoma are more likely to develop malignant nail melanoma than people with darker skin.
Nail melanoma can form under the nail bed and on and around the nails. Subungual melanoma occurs under the fingernail or toenail . Periungual melanoma typically occurs in the skin around the nail.
You are more likely to develop nail related cancers if you have:
- Significant nail injuries with haematomas
- Extended sun exposure especially when young
- Moles or lesions
- Immunosuppressive conditions, such as HIV
- Personal/family history of melanoma
- Passed the age of 50 years old
Acral lentiginous melanoma is the most common form of melanoma in people of colour. Nail cancers are typically a form of acral lentiginous melanoma.
Recommended Reading: Best Place For Manicure And Pedicure
Common Meds Could Offer Protection From Dementia & Parkinsons Docs Claim
Data shows that the marks have been seen in 75 per cent of African, 25 per cent of Chinese and 10 per cent of Japanese people who have previously been diagnoses with melanoma.
Typically, older people are more at risk, with women in their 60s and men in their 70s mainly being affected.
However, we previously reported how one woman in her 40s, had to have her finger amputated after she discovered a brown strip on her nail.
It’s important that if you are worried, you should always see your GP – as subungual melanoma may not always present with a streak on the nail.
So it’s important that you look out for other signs on the nails and toes that could indicate illness.
What Does The Beginning Of Melanoma Look Like
Often the first sign of melanoma is a change in the shape, color, size, or feel of an existing mole. However, melanoma may also appear as a new mole. People should tell their doctor if they notice any changes on the skin. The only way to diagnose melanoma is to remove tissue and check it for cancer cells.
How painful is a nail biopsy?
Most patients report throbbing pain in the first one to two days after the biopsy. This will decrease within a week. After the first week, the digit will still be tender to the touch. You may still have numbness and/or tingling at the biopsy site after a few weeks.
Are hangnails a vitamin deficiency?
Hangnails can result from a protein deficiency, as well as a lack of essential vitamins including folic acid, vitamin B, vitamin C, and keratin.
Also Check: How Do You Remove Nail Polish From Clothes
Melanoma Under Nails: A Stealthyand Dangerousform Of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can occur anywhere on your skin, even places you wouldn’t necessarily consider “exposed.” Interestingly, this includes under your nails. Although far less common than areas such as the face, arms, and legs, melanoma under nails can be just as problematic as when situated elsewhere on the body and, in fact, can be especially risky, given that it’s often noticed and diagnosed later than it might be in more obvious areas.
Read on to learn more about this lesser-known skin cancer danger.
Nail Your Questions About Fingertips And Toes
Nail Your Questions about Fingertips and Toes
Dermatologists diagnose disorders of the hair, nails and skin, so occasional questions regarding nails come up. A number of factors influence nail growth such as age, pregnancy, poor nutrition, chronic diseases and medications, to name a few. Nails undergo trauma from external sources such as chemicals and manual labor as well as trauma from internal causes. The following are a sample of nail terms and conditions from tumors to infections.
Malignant tumors of the nail: While there are a number of malignant growths that may occur on the nail , only two are discussed here.
- Squamous cell carcinoma cancer can cause discoloration, separation of the nail plate from the nail bed and destroy the nail. This is the most frequent malignant tumor of the nail. Several studies have pointed to human papillomavirus 16 as the cause of development. Bone involvement is rare and metastases are extremely rare. Most common population affected is men in their middle age.
- Melanoma may destroy the nail or cause erosion. An evaluation is warranted if a person finds a dark streak on their nail. 25% of melanomas of the nail are amelanoticthey will present as a pink lesionnot a dark discoloration. It may be difficult to determine this from pyogenic granuloma or squamous cell carcinoma.1
Benign tumors of the nail bed: Enchodromas/osteochondromas/exostosis , fibromas and epidermoid cysts can be found. Two of the more common growths are:
Also Check: What Vitamin Helps Nails Grow
The Complete Guide To Nail Fungus
Posted by: Skin And Cancer Institute in Medical Dermatology
Ah, summertime. The sun, the sand, thenail fungus? Unfortunately, warmer weather and more time spent in public places put you at greater risk for contracting nail fungus. Nail fungus abounds in areas like hotel rooms, the perimeter of swimming pools, locker rooms, and public showers.
Nail fungus is a common condition that you want to avoid contracting. And, if you already have nail fungus, you may be wondering about the best way to get rid of it. This guide will give you everything you need to know about nail fungus, including what it is, how to treat it, and what you can do to prevent it from coming back. So if youre dealing with a fungal nail infection, dont despairhelp is available.
What Is The Outcome For Melanoma Of The Nail Unit
Melanoma of the nail unit is an uncommon form of melanoma with a worse prognosis than other cutaneous melanomas. The main factor associated with the risk of metastatic melanoma and death is the thickness of the melanoma at the time of primary tumour excision. It is often diagnosed late, particularly when the toe is involved, and may have spread at the time of diagnosis.
According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate for cutaneous melanoma varies between 1597% depending on stage. Melanoma of the nail unit may have a worse prognosis compared with cutaneous melanoma, but this may be related to the late presentation. A meta-analysis of mortality rates for melanoma of the nail unit reported a five-year survival of 77%.
Don’t Miss: Why Is My Big Toe Nail Yellow
What Are The Symptoms Of Subungual Melanoma
When you hear the word melanoma, your first thought might be irregular-shaped moles on the skin caused by sun damage. But since subungual melanoma affects the nail matrix, the signs and symptoms dont look like a typical mole on the skin.
Symptoms of this condition include:
- a light- to dark-brown colored band on the nail thats usually vertical
- a dark band on the nail that slowly expands and covers more of the nail
- dark nail pigmentation that expands to the surrounding skin
- a nodule underneath the nail with or without a pigmentation band
- nail brittleness and cracking
- bleeding at the site of pigmentation
Its important to note that not all cases of this condition cause pigmentation changes in the nail. While this can make the melanoma more challenging to detect, a telltale sign of the condition is that it usually affects one nail at a time.
What Causes Melanoma Of The Nail Unit
In contrast to cutaneous melanoma, melanoma of the nail does not appear to be related to sun exposure. Melanoma of the nail unit originates from activation and proliferation of melanin producing melanocytes of the nail matrix.
Injury or trauma may be a factor, accounting for the greater incidence in the big toe and thumb .
Don’t Miss: Does Anything Work For Toenail Fungus
What To Know About Nail Melanoma
Melanoma on the extremities nails, hands and feet is the rarest subtype of the skin cancer, accounting for less than 5% of all melanomas, Patel said. But it makes up about a third of all the melanomas that African Americans, Indians, Asians and other people with darker skin develop, which is a ten-fold increase compared to the general population, he noted.
This type of cancer called acral lentiginous melanoma tends to be more aggressive than other melanomas. It killed reggae legend Bob Marley at 36 after it showed up as a dark spot under his toenail.
The main symptom is melanonychia, or a pigmented vertical streak on the nail. Some people have likened it to a line drawn by a Sharpie. That doesnt mean it’s always automatically worrisome because such streaks are much more common in patients with darker skin, Patel noted.
When you have multiple, its reassuring because that may be a signature of your nail beds, he said.
But if a vertical stripe suddenly appears on a nail or its changing, thats something a doctor should check out. Pigment extending from the nail portion onto the cuticle and nearby skin, which is called a Hutchinson’s sign, is also of concern.
What Are The Clinical Features Of Melanoma Of The Nail Unit
Melanoma of the nail unit most often starts as a narrow brown to black pigmented band, visible on the length of a single nail plate . It is most prevalent in the nail of the thumb or big toe. It is not easy to differentiate from a benignlentigo or naevus in its early stages. However, over weeks to months, the pigment band:
- Becomes wider , especially at its proximal end
- Becomes more irregular in pigmentation
- Borders become irregular or blurred
- Extends to involve the skin of the proximal or lateralnail fold , also known as the Hutchinson sign, which is historically considered a sign of nail melanoma
- May form a nodule, ulcerate, or bleed
- May present as a mass under the nail plate, lifting it , or look like a wart
- May cause nail plate dystrophy
- May become painful if there is bone involvement.
Don’t Miss: Dr Remedy Nail Polish Fungus
Melanoma Survivor Shares Her Story After Countless Skin Cancer Surgeries
Jasko, now 22, who will soon graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, first became aware of the unusual spot in 2016 when she was a senior in high school. Shed been getting her nails done once or twice a month for a couple of years, complete with acrylics artificial nails applied on top of her natural nails plus a gel polish that was cured with UV light.
When the acrylics were removed during one particular visit, the technician pointed out what seemed to be a bruise on her right thumb nail. It looked like a perfectly straight thin vertical line drawn with a pencil from the top to the bottom of her nail, with a purplish tint to it, Jasko recalled.
She didnt think much about it. But about a week later, her nail became infected, swollen and red, which led her to see her doctor. The infection didnt alarm him, but the mysterious streak on her nail did.
Jasko was immediately referred to a dermatologist who told her she needed to undergo a biopsy that same day at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
It was overwhelming because everything happened so quick, Jasko said. It was so scary My mom was like, I cant believe that I never even thought that it could be in your nail.
The nail infection which was unrelated to the melanoma, but led Jasko to see a doctor may have saved her life, doctors told her.
Learn How To Identify This Potentially Serious Condition
Oliver Eng, MD, is a double board-certified surgeon and surgical oncologist and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago.
Subungual melanoma, sometimes called nail apparatus melanoma, is a type of malignancy that arises in the tissues of the nail bed. Melanoma cancers develop in cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color.
Subungual melanomas can occur on any of the fingernails or toenails. These nail cancers are often misdiagnosed as a fungal infection due to their characteristic changes in color and nail texture.
Melanoma of the nail is a relatively uncommon condition, affecting 0.7% to 3.5% of people with malignant melanomas worldwide. It tends to occur more in darker-skinned individuals, including African-American, Asian, and Hispanic populations.
It’s also more common as you age, with one study finding people were diagnosed at an average age of 69 years and 60% of them were male.
You May Like: How Many Roofing Nails Needed Per Square
What Causes Subungual Melanoma
Most cases of skin melanoma are caused by sun exposure. This is why dermatologists warn against tanning and unprotected sun exposure. However, subungual melanoma isnt usually caused by the sun. Most cases seem to be caused by injury or trauma. It also tends to affect middle-aged and older adults with darker skin.
Additionally, subungual melanoma is more prevalent in the nails of your thumbs and big toes.
How Can Nail Fungus Be Prevented
There are some simple precautions that you can take to help prevent getting nail fungus. First, always keep your nails clean and well-trimmed. This will help reduce the chances of bacteria and fungi becoming trapped under your nails. In addition, avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms or pool areas. If you do come into contact with a surface that may be contaminated with fungus, be sure to wash your feet thoroughly as soon as possible. Finally, dont share nail clippers or other personal care items with others. There are several other things you can do to help prevent nail fungus, including:
Recommended Reading: Nail Fungus Laser Treatment Before And After
How Is Nail Fungus Diagnosed
If you think you might have nail fungus, you must see a dermatologist for a diagnosis. They will likely ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine your nails and skin. In some cases, they may need to take a sample of your nail to test for the presence of fungus. Once nail fungus has been diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan.
What Causes Subungual Melanomas Vs Toenail Fungus
The exact cause of subungual melanomas is unknown. Researchers do know, however, that this type of melanoma is different from others because it has no connection to sun exposure, says Dr. Westbay. Risk factors for the disease include severe injury, damage, or trauma to the nail having close family members with subungual melanoma and genetic mutations with known predispositions to skin cancer.
Meanwhile, the cause of toenail fungus is clear-cut. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the infection usually occurs when certain fungi get through a crack or cut in your toe, allowing the invaders to embed between the toenail and the tissue just underneath. Nail fungus, also known as onchyomycosis, develops as a result of a fungus under that nail plate, triggering a buildup of debris under the nail plate, thickening of the nail plate, and a white chalky residue, explains Dr. Ilyas.
If your doctor is not able to diagnose toenail fungus on sight, they may take some nail clippings to be tested to determine the cause of your nail symptoms. Besides prescription oral and topical , there are some over-the-counter creams like terbinafine that can helpalthough treatment for toenail fungus isnt always needed, per the Mayo Clinic. Talk to your health care provider to see which approach is right for you.
You May Like: Natural Treatment For Plant Fungus