Often overlooked, in fact the appearance of nails can be a sign of certain health problems. Normal fingernails should be pink with the shape and size that follows your finger. But sometimes, changes occur with black lines appearing on the nails that often make you worry. Is this condition dangerous?
What causes the black line on the nail?
Maybe you are more familiar with melanoma which refers to skin cancer. Although it is more common in the skin, melanoma can also occur in the nails which are marked by the appearance of black lines on the nails. This condition is known as subungual melanoma.
Unlike the skin melanoma that grows on the surface of the skin, subungual melanoma develops in the nail matrix. The nail matrix is the main part that is responsible for forming keratin while protecting the tissue in the nail layers.
Most cases of skin melanoma are caused by sunlight, but not by the appearance of black lines on the nails. This condition can be triggered by injury, trauma, and often attacks adults with darker skin. The appearance of black lines on the nail is quite difficult to identify because it often resembles bruises.
What are the symptoms that mark subungual melanoma?
Again, other causes of skin melanoma are different symptoms that indicate subungual melanoma. The main symptoms of this condition include:
- Brown or black lines appear on the nails without being accompanied by injury
- The nail line will grow to a size that is getting bigger and bigger
- This black line does not go away even though the nail has grown long
- Nails are thin, brittle, and uneven in shape
- The skin around the nails tends to be darker
- Sometimes bleeding appears in the area of the nail that changes color
The appearance of black lines on the nails often occurs in the thumbs of the nails of the hands and feet. Melanoma that continues to develop in the nail can result in bleeding and nail deformity.
It is important to remember that not all subungual melanoma cases are marked by changes in nail color . Always consult with your doctor if there is a change in the body that feels abnormal.
How do you diagnose this condition?
Black lines on the nails that show subungual melanoma are quite difficult to detect on their own. That is why, you are advised to see a doctor if you find changes or unusual nail growth.
First of all, the doctor will make a physical assessment of the nail first. If the condition you are experiencing is thought to be subungual melanoma, the doctor will take a biopsy path to take a small sample for further identification. Biopsies can also be used to remove skin cells and abnormal tissue around the nails.
If the diagnosis shows that the black line on the nail is subungual melanoma, then you may need to do some further tests to assess the extent of the spread of the cancer cells. The severity of subungual melanoma will be grouped depending on how many cancer cells appear and the process of spread.
Can subungual melanoma be treated?
The only way to overcome the black line on the nail caused by subungual melanoma is to do surgery. The goal is to stop abnormal tissue growth in the nails by taking part or even the entire nail.
But if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, the treatment will be adjusted back to the level of severity. Doctors may recommend radiation therapy, which plays a role in reducing pain while slowing the spread of cancer cells. Unfortunately, this therapy is not able to cure subungual melanoma completely.
- 7 Everyday Consciousness Destroys Your Hair and Nail Health
- 8 Choices for Natural Nail Fungus You Can Find at Home
- Can We Cut Nail Cuticles? (Plus Tips for Proper Care)