Subungal malignant melanoma is the medical term for the type of cancer that results from pigment cells underneath your nail. Sun damaged skin can increase the risk of melanocytes, or the cells that produce pigment, to grow uncontrolled. Too often we may not notice or ignore small discolorations under our nails or on our feet. It doesn’t hurt, so it can’t be that bad, right? When dealing with this type of cancer, nothing could be further from the truth. Melanoma lesions are often painless and some of the most dangerous types of soft tissue cancer. Any type of discoloration that grows with the nails, leaving a stripe, or begins at the base of your nails is highly suspicious for melanoma.
With any type of cancer in any part of your body, early detection is vital to successful treatment and resolution. We urge you to keep regular appointments with all our doctors. Any suspicious changes to your nails should be seen by your Austin podiatrist. One of the first things your podiatry physician may do to any discoloration or suspicious lesion is to take a small biopsy. By taking a small sample and identifying the types of cells present, the best and most definitive treatment can be given. As you can see from Bob Marley, getting the proper treatment can be a life or death decision.
Until next time, keep those feet happy and cancer free Austin!