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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Do I have subungual melanoma?

    Related Topics
    I have a light grey stripe on my left thumb and found out recently it might be melanoma. I am also Idonesian and found out this happens more in people of colour. Ive had this stripe for about 3-4 years and im currently 19. Please help
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    Dr Richard Beatty

    GP (General Practitioner)

    Brisbane GP With Special interest in Complex Medical, Men's health, antenatal, paediatrics. Skin Cancer Clinic Designated Aviation Medical Examiner Specific interests in Vasectomy, Dermatology & ... View Profile

    Hi, it sounds very much like “longitudinal melanonychia” - a quite harmless line found on nails and is common with pigmented skintypes. A melanoma is very unlikely because of how long you've had it, your age, and its colour. A melanoma will tend to be darker, the nail itself can be damaged, and the pigmentation may spread from the nail to the skin edge above the base of the nail (the cuticle). A melanoma is commoner over the age of 40. Do get it checked out though, sometimes a doctor or dermatologist will use a dermatocope (a special instrument to look at the skin and nails) to check out out further.

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    Mr Stephen Salerno

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery Hand Surgery Skin cancer and melanoma surgery Breast Surgery View Profile

    Hello

    It is unlikely from your description of pigmentation being present for 4 years that you have a subungal melanoma.  I would have thought that in 4 years if this was a melanoma, it would have taken over most of your fingertip.

    You should see a dermatologist and it properly looked at with a dermatoscope to ensure that it is just some pigmentation in the nail bed.

    Regrads
    Stepehen Salerno

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    Prof Rodney Sinclair

    Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

    Professor Sinclair is Professor of Dermatology at the University of Melbourne and Head of Dermatology at the Epworth Hospital. He has written 7 textbooks of ... View Profile

    The of nail melanoma  can usually be made by simple visual inspection by a dermatologists. A small minority of patients will require  a biopsy of the nail. This is a surgical procedure.  The high death rate with nail melanoma is due to delay in diagnosis.  If you have not already done so you should see a dermatologists for assessment.

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    Dr. John Mahony

    Cosmetic Physician

    Dr John Mahony studied Medicine at Sydney University 1980-1984 graduating early 1985. Internship and residency years followed in the Illawarra, covering general medical and surgical ... View Profile

    We all agree that you can't be sure about this based on words on a website.

    Don't muck about.

    Get it looked at by a doctor.

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    Thanks

    Dr Michael Quinn

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    While longitudinal melonychia may be very common , especially in Asian and negroid races (check out Mike Tyson's nails), when it appears in a Caucasian it should be fully investigated

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