London: A woman who hid a strange mark on her fingernail for years has now found out it was a deadly form of cancer. Alana Severs, 36, described the odd mark as an “embarrassing line” and covered it up with red varnish for years.
It wasn’t until the UK woman read a magazine article suggesting it could be a symptom of common skin cancer that panic set in. “What I thought of as a frivolous pastime reading an article in bed turned out to save my life,” Alana said.
Alana was so disturbed by the article that she sent screenshots of the nail to her partner. The next day she visited her local GP who sent her on an urgent referral to specialists. A biopsy found the 36-year-old had melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and was rushed into hospital to have her entire fingernail plus 5mm of cancerous tissue removed.
“Because it was just a tiny line I never thought anything of it,” Alana, a nurse, said. “I always wore red nail polish to cover it up because I was embarrassed about it. “Then reading this article made me panic. But I’m relieved I came across it when I did.”
Medical staff at Queens Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth told the healthcare worker her nail needed immediate removal if there was any hope of stopping cancer from seeping into her bloodstream.
“The doctors told me it was brilliant that it hadn’t grown down into my hand,” she said. “By some miracle, although it had been growing outwards and the line was getting bigger, it hadn’t started growing down yet.
“So I was cured with a few surgeries.” On top of losing her fingernail, Alana also needed a skin graft from her arm to cover the gaping wound. The Portsmouth woman said: “To think that my life was changed, just by reading an article. “I could have gone another three years without thinking anything of it, and it could have spread and become deadly.”
Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world. It is expected that 16,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. That means one person is told they have melanoma every 30 minutes according to the Melanoma Institute Australia. In the UK it is the fifth most common cancer. source