Woman discovers cancer after investigating dark spot on nail

The appearance of nails can reveal important clues about a person’s health, such as vitamin deficiency, liver and heart problems. The American Maria Sylvia went viral on social media this month, telling that she lived for 10 years with a dark spot on her thumbnail, but only this year discovered that it was a subungual melanoma, popularly called nail cancer.

The story caught the attention of TikTok users. In two weeks, the video reached 14.7 million views.

Maria explained that she first noticed a nail mark in 2012, when she looked pale. About a year later, the stain was bigger and darker. The American said that she visited doctors for years, but the diagnosis only came in January of this year, after doing a biopsy.

@invrfoundwaldo I wish I were joking lol but i have some awesome photos #SmoothLikeNitroPepsi #theadamproject #cancer #darkhumour #fml #myjourney ♬ original sound – kooze

“My friend really encouraged me to get a biopsy. So I did. It was at the end of January that I found out it was a case of subungual melanoma. Basically, this translates to cancer under the nail.”

The American underwent surgery to remove the affected nail and part of the thumb bone. During the procedure, doctors even grafted a piece of skin from her arm onto her finger. New test results confirmed that there were no more cancer cells at the site.


nail cancer

Subungual melanoma, or nail melanoma, is a type of cancer that affects the tissues below the fingernails and toenails, most commonly the thumbs. It is difficult to diagnose because it has features similar to a bruise or an infection.

In addition to the darker band of pigmentation, as seen on American nail, patients may develop brittleness and bleeding at the affected site.

According to the Oncoguia Institute, the disease accounts for less than 5% of all cases of melanoma. Despite being the most fatal type of skin cancer, the survival rate in early diagnosis is 98%.

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