Black Line In Nail: Is This A Sign Of Melanoma?

Question

Asked by alissa

Black Line In Nail: Is This A Sign Of Melanoma?

There is a black line in one of my nails. It starts at cuticle and ends at tip. Is this a sign of skin cancer?

Answer

Skin cancer can occur under the nail. this occurs more frequently in dark-skinned individuals but it can occur in anyone. This type of cancer, called subungual melanoma, appears as a dark strand through the nail  - usually on the thumb, index or great toe or finger. The line can be a few millimeters wide or can be much wider. The line can continue through your cuticle. Because people of color often have darker streaks through their nail (which are harmless), this type of cancer is often overlooked.

If you have subungual melanoma, you might notice other changes in your nail. These include thickening of the nail, your nail lifting from the nail bed, grooves in your nail or pain in the area.

It is always beneficial to have any changes in your skin, including your nails, checked by a dermatologist. This type of cancer accounts for only about 5 percent of melanomas, however, in people of color it accounts for between 30 and 40 percent of melanomas.

When applying sunscreen, don't forget to apply to your nails as well as your skin. Some nail polishes now have sunscreen in them.

For more information:

Bob Marley's Skin Cancer