Subungual Melanoma – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Stages, Treatment, Pictures

Several conditions can affect your nails. Much more for just painting and scratching an itch, the quality of your nails can be great indicators of underlying health conditions which may be otherwise symptomless. The unit is made up of the plate (top, harder layer made from the protein keratin) and the cuticle (point where nail fuses with the rest of the finger or toe).

Diseases of the nails

Underneath you have the nail bed (directly below plates) and the matrix where it grows from. The lunula is the half moon shape at the base and the folds are where they fold. The anatomy of the nail isn’t so complicated, but the epidemiology and pathology of disorders surrounding them would result in a large list. Just googling about them will produce a large list of results and a lot of images that may prove unsettling. The photos are not the only disturbing results. The expansive literature describes a plethora of conditions which can range from unpleasant to deadly.

Deformities (irregular shape) and dystrophies (irregularities in texture) are the tamer explanations. They can be caused by fungal infections (onychomycosis), psoriasis, viruses (verruca vulgaris caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), lichen planus, ingrown nails, drugs, bacteria (acute or chronic paronychia), and diseases which induce discoloration (chromonychia) like pseudomonas invasions where nails are turned a greenish tint. In rare cases, cancer will be the culprit behind these abnormalities.

Subungual melanoma symptoms

As with other melanomas, this is characterized by dysfunction within the melatonin producing cells. These can be easily observed in most cases through discoloration and this specific type is only found under the nail. This distinct subtype of cutaneous malignant melanoma comes from the structure within the nail apparatus. The disease comes from Latin origins meaning beneath the nail or claw. Similar to other skin diseases, the defining subungual melanoma symptom is the Hutchinson sign. These refer to where the discolored pigment extends onto adjacent skin past the nail.

What are the criteria for the subungual melanoma stages

In cancers, a stage is used to define the progression of the illness beginning at zero and increasing with severity as the number continues. Like with other cancers, subungual melanoma stages can dictate the treatments you’ll need as well as the overall prognosis. If you detect the illness as stage IA or IB, your chance of survival after five years is above 90 percent. This number drops to above 50 for stage II, 40 for stage III and below 15 to 20 for stage IV. Prognosis may be better in patients whose cancer has not spread to not yet spread to vital organs and instead other less critical parts of the body.

Subungual melanoma treatment options?

Treatments for subungual melanoma vary as a function of the stages. Early melanoma detection is the best way to avoid excessively aggressive treatments altogether. Surgery can be issued to remove infected tissues before it has a chance to spread to other regions of the body. Chemo, radiation drugs, and other approaches of high aggression are accompanied by other symptoms. Loss of appetite, alopecia, rashes, fatigue, and nausea are all the result of these treatments. Best scenario is that your melanoma is in situ and requires minimal invasive techniques to remove infected tissues before they have the ability to travel elsewhere. If you are unsure about a weird blob but doctors are suspicious, they may just opt to remove it as a precautionary effort. A biopsy procedure can then be performed to determine if you really have something worrisome. If detected they can search for cancerous tissues that might have to go unnoticed.

Risk factors to the development of this cancer

Researchers are unsure what exactly causes this cancer, but certain demographic details may indicate you’re at risk. Having a tanner skin tone is one thing as those who have naturally high melanin are more vulnerable.

This included populations whose ancestors come from nations located in Africa, Asia, South America, Australia (Aboriginal), and Pacific Islanders. A history of trauma to the extremities also seems to be a problem. Dysfunction with your immune system due to a preexisting immunosuppressive disorder like HIV or AIDS can also do this.

Subungual melanoma pictures

A great way to introduce yourself and familiarize with identifying when to contact a health care provider is to be using the internet as a resource. Researching subungual melanoma pictures online can offer a great starting point to know what to look for by comparing yourself to concrete diagnoses. Remember, photos uploaded by strangers to unofficial forums is not a diagnosis. Visit a doctor before freaking yourself out or making rash decisions.

Can pets get melanoma?

Fido and Whiskers aren’t immune to skin cancers. Malignant melanoma can affect both cats and dogs by manifesting itself in similar ways to that in humans. Most benign masses form where the hair is covered like the torso, arms, or legs. Only about 10 percent of malignant melanoma tumors are found on hairy body regions. Malignant melanoma will most often occur near the mouth or mucous membranes. They grow fast and quickly spread to organs like the lungs. Genetic factors, injury, and compulsive licking are all thought to play a role.

 

 

Article References:

  1. https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/skin-disorders/nail-disorders/overview-of-nail-disorders
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/subungual-melanoma
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482480/
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319100.php
  5. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/dogs-and-skin-cancer#1

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