Melanoma of the nail affects either a thumb nail or great toenail, but may involve any finger or toenail. Trauma may be a factor, accounting for the greater incidence in trauma-prone areas. Early detection and treatment is important.
When should you be worried?
- All non-pigmented lumps under the nailplate
- A wide (> 3 mm) new or changing pigment band in a single nail [ABCDEF]
- A – Age: Older than 50
- B – Border: Blurred
- C – Colour: different colours darker and lighter bands, varied width
- D – Diameter wide >3mm; Digit - thumb or big toe
- E – Extend onto proximal nail fold
- F – Family history of melanoma
Diagnosis of nail melanoma
- Biopsy of the nail matrix and nail bed
Other conditions that can look similar
- Bleeding: No bands and normal-appearing nail growing behind mark
- Fungal infection
The melanoma must be removed surgically by a hand surgeon and lymph nodes investigated.