A person can get cancer around their toenails because the nails have become damaged in a way that overexposes the nail bed, nail folds or matrix to the sun's ultraviolet rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. The nails can also be damaged by poor pedicuring techniques.
There are different types of skin cancer that affect the nail, says WebMD. If a wart develops on the nail bed, it may be a sign of squamous cell skin cancer. A dark area on the cuticle may be a sign of melanoma, which is a deadly type of skin cancer that can spread to distant organs if it is not treated. If a person sees these signs around her toenails as well as sores that won't heal, she should see her dermatologist. Fortunately, all types of skin cancer are curable if they are caught early.
People can protect their nails by using moisturizer every day, states the Skin Cancer Foundation. They should also put on nail polish if their toes are going to be exposed, which does give some protection against ultraviolet rays. However, they should also refrain from polishing their nails or using nail polish remover once in a while. The cuticle should also not be trimmed away, removed or subject to harsh treatment.