Symptoms of nail cancer include a very dark stripe on the nail, blurred borders, and an existing stripe on the nail that changes over time. The nail cancer is technically on the nail bed underneath the nail, according to Dr. Dana Stern in an article for CBS New York. The medical name for nail cancer is acral melanoma, as stated by Cancer Research UK.
The majority of nail stripes and discolored nails are not indicative of cancer, but it is important to consult a dermatologist if there is any concern about a discolored nail. Early detection is key in treating nail cancer. Depending on the stage of the cancer, treatment ranges from removing the tissue affected by the melanoma to amputation of the fingertip. The most common fingers affected by nail cancer are the big toe, thumb and index finger, according to Dr. Dana Stern.
African Americans are most susceptible to nail cancer, notes CBS New York. Musician Bob Marley battled nail cancer for four years before succumbing to the cancer in 1981. Acral melanoma can also be present on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hand. Research shows acral melanoma is not strongly associated with UV exposure, and there is no association between cosmetic nail treatments and nail melanoma.