When a beauty technician had a client come in with an unusually-coloured nail, she knew something was wrong.
The woman said she wanted her nails painted in a colour that was dark enough to cover a straight, dark line down the middle of her nail, mentioning that other nail technicians she had visited had said the stripe might be caused by either calcium deficiency, something hereditary, or a blood blister.
But the technician told her to see a doctor immediately, as she knew it was something more serious – cancer.
“I had a walk-in nail client a couple weeks ago,” the technician’s message, shared on a Facebook post, said.
“She had a straight dark vertical stripe down her nail. She said as soon as she sat down ‘I need a color dark enough to cover this stripe’.
“The other nail salons had ‘diagnosed’ her in a few different ways. Some said it was a lack of calcium. Some said it was hereditary. At least one had told her it was a blood blister.”
But the technician knew that it was melanoma.
“I did not want to frighten her but I told her she needed to see her doctor immediately,” she recalled.
“She called me today to tell me that yes it was a very aggressive melanoma that has already spread to her lymph nodes! Her prognosis is not good.
“Please pay attention to abnormalities in your nail beds! Odd changes in your nails can very likely be nothing to worry about but sometimes it is an indication of a very serious disease.
“And please keep an eye on the nail beds – toes and fingers – of your elderly loved ones and your loved ones that aren’t physically able to notice changes in their nail beds.
“Early diagnosis can make all the difference in the world!”
According to the NHS website, while dark stripes running down the nails are actually quite common – and harmless – in black people over 20, the technician is right; they can also be a sign of ‘subungual’ melanoma.
So if in doubt, check it out.
Read more from Yahoo Style UK: