Melanoma Under Your Fingernails

Your monthly skin cancer self-examination may not be thorough enough. That is, unless you are checking your fingernails and toenails already.

Subungual melanoma is a potentially deadly form of skin cancer that forms under nails. Diagnoses are rare, accounting for less than 3.5% of all malignant melanomas worldwide.

Nail melanoma tends to afflict older individuals and people with skin of color. It is the most common variant of malignant melanoma of African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics.

Subungual melanoma is like other forms of skin cancer in that it is highly treatable if detected early. Unfortunately, it tends to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage than melanoma on the skin. If left untreated, nail melanoma can spread to other areas of the body.

What To Look for When Examining Nails

  • A dark streak in the nail
  • Dark skin next to the nail
  • Nail lifting from finger or toe
  • Nail splitting
  • A bump under the nail

Learn how to check your nails for melanoma with this video by the American Academy of Dermatology.