Everything You Need To Know About Melanoma Under Toenail

Nails, especially toenails, suffer diverse problems over the lifetime of a man. The most common problems are nail fungus, curved toenails, ingrown toenails, etc. There are also some not so common nail problems, one of which is melanoma.

A far more common nail problem is toenail fungus or onychomycosis. Some of the symptoms are similar to those of subungual melanoma. It also spreads fast and is highly contagious hence must be treated early as well. Unlike subungual melanoma, the causes are clear hence steps could be taken to prevent it. Some of the treatment options are highlighted below.

Home Remedies For Nail Fungus

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a very common household item with amazing antifungal properties. When used properly and consistently, toenail fungus will disappear within a few months and your nails will look great again. You can use apple Cider vinegar either by applying it directly to the infected nail and surrounding skin or by having a foot soak in a mixture of apple cider and warm water at least once daily.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is one of the strongest home remedies for toenail fungus. Although it is not as common as apple cider, it can be easily purchased in stores. Dilute it with a carrier oil and apply a thin layer of the mixture to the infected area 2 to 3 times per day. made exclusively for external usage.

Coconut oil

This is also a very common household item with amazing healing properties. Its usage covers a wide range of health issues. It is very gentle yet loaded with antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties. Apply it to the infected area 3 to 4 times daily. It can also be used internally.

Other home remedies include baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, ginger, garlic, etc.

What You Should Know About Melanoma

Melanoma, also called subungual melanoma, is a type of skin cancer. The term subungual means ‘under the nail’ hence subungual melanoma refers to a type of skin cancer beneath the nail. Other forms of nail melanoma affect the skin surrounding the nail but subungual melanoma originates from the nail matrix. While it is not as common as other forms of cancer, it is as dangerous as any other cancer. This cancer spreads quite fast. Therefore, it is imperative to detect it early and begin treatment immediately.

Symptoms of Subungual Melanoma

Subungual melanoma has a similar appearance to fungal infections, bacterial infections, as well as injury to the nail hence might be confusing. It also doesn’t look like a typical melanoma that usually show irregular-shaped moles on the skin. However, some signs may be indicative of subungual melanoma. They include:

  • The nail shows a vertical light to dark-brown colored band
  • A dark band appears on the nail, it expands slowly to other parts of the nail
  • The appearance of a dark pigmentation beginning from the nail to the surrounding skin
  • A nodule develops under the nail; may have pigmentation or not
  • Brittleness of nails
  • Cracking of nails
  • The site of pigmentation begins to bleed

Note: subungual melanoma does not necessarily cause nail discoloration, a factor that contributes to the difficulty of its detection. However, one at least two or three of the symptoms highlighted above manifest in your nails, with or without pigmentation, you may have subungual melanoma. Another telling indication is that it typically affects one nail at a time.

Causes of Melanoma Under Toenails

Unlike other kinds of melanoma and nail melanoma that are caused by exposure to the sun, subungual melanoma is hardly caused by sun exposure. It is usually caused by injury or trauma to the toenail. This partly explains why it affects big toes more than other toes. Subungual melanoma is more prevalent among middle-aged and older adults, especially with darker skin.

Prevention of subungual melanoma

Frankly, the exact cause remains unknown hence it is difficult to prevent it. However, injury or trauma to the toenail is found to be a contributing factor hence keeping nails away from trauma or injury as much as possible will go a long way. Sportsmen should choose perfect fit shoes due to the heavy usage of their feet.

Note: early detection is very key as far as subungual melanoma is concerned because of the complication that can ensue in no time. If not treated, it can easily spread to other body parts.  Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the outlook of your nails, frequently checking for any bruising, streaking, or changes in line with the symptoms listed above.

Risk factors for Subungual melanoma.

  • Family or personal history: anyone who has had subungual melanoma in the past or there’s the history in the family is at a greater risk of having this cancer.
  • Age: Age is a contributing factor to many body ailments because body immunity naturally weakens with age among other factors. People older than 50 years are at greater risk of having subungual melanoma.
  • Prolonged exposure to sun and UV light
  • Darker skin: the occurrence of subungual melanoma among people with darker skin is higher hence dark-skinned people are more vulnerable to this cancer.
  • Underlying health issues: underlying health issues such as immunosuppressive disorder increases the chance of having melanoma under the toenail.

Subungual melanoma which means melanoma under the nail is a kind of nail melanoma. It begins in the nail matrix and could quickly cause diverse complications, just like any other kind of cancer, if not treated promptly. It is therefore vital to detect melanoma under toenail early and begin treatment early.

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