A woman who spent years covering up a 'weird' line on her fingernail was shocked to discover it was a sign of cancer.
Alana Severs, 36, from Portsmouth, had ignored the tiny mark on her nail for years, using red nail polish to hide it as it made her feel embarrassed.
But after reading an article online, the nurse became concerned the stripe could be a sign of something serious.
Having visited her GP the very next day, Severs was given an urgent referral for a biopsy, after which she was told she had melanoma, a type of skin cancer.
Surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, removed Severs' entire fingernail plus 5mm of cancerous tissue.
Despite being left with no fingernail, Severs is glad she finally got checked out, as the cancer was treated before it spread any further.
"Because it was just a tiny line I never thought anything of it and I always wore red nail polish to cover it up because I was embarrassed about it," she explains.
In 2017 Severs came across an article on Cosmopolitan's website and began to suspect the line on her nail could be a sign of a serious condition.
“I sent screenshots to my partner in an absolute panic and said my nail looks exactly the same," she says.
“I was terrified that I had cancer and couldn't believe that I ignored it for so long.
“I went to the GP the next day and was sent for an urgent referral."
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Doctors at Queen Alexandra Hospital told Severs she needed her fingernail removed immediately before the cancer could spread into her bloodstream.
“By some miracle, although it had been growing outwards and the line was getting bigger, I was so lucky that it hadn’t started growing down yet so I was cured with a few surgeries," she explains.
“They said it was brilliant that it hadn’t grown down into my hand.
“It had just grown outwards so it hadn’t got to my blood yet.
“I was so lucky that after three years it hadn’t done that.
“It could have gone down at any point, but incredibly it hadn’t."
Now Severs has been left without a fingernail, but she is grateful she caught the cancer before it spread.
“It was literally reading an article that made me go to the doctors the next day," she continues.
"Though reading the article made me panic, I'm relieved I came across it when I did - it might just have saved my life."
“I could have gone another three years without thinking anything of it - and it could have spread and become deadly," she adds.
Following the surgery to remove her fingernail, Severs needed to have a skin graft from her arm to cover her wound.
"After the surgery I felt nauseous and it was painful for quite some time but it did heal," she says.
"Now [losing my fingernail] doesn't bother me at all.
"I would rather lose my whole arm and get rid of the cancer than risk it spreading."
Additional reporting SWNS.
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