Samantha Holder was diagnosed with nail bed melanoma after visiting Cosmetic Elegance for a beauty treatment.
Samantha Holder was diagnosed with nail bed melanoma after visiting Cosmetic Elegance for a beauty treatment.

Bride's nail blemish turns out to be rare melanoma

A RARE melanoma may have claimed the tip of her finger but it won't take away Samantha Holder's smile as she walks down the aisle on her wedding day.

Next Thursday, the 39-year-old will get married just a few weeks after a medical scare left her counting her lucky stars.

Ms Holder attended Cosmetic Elegance Clinic for a little facial "freshen up" when physician and skin cancer expert, Dr Eddie Roos, noticed an unusual blemish under the nail of her left index finger.

"The first thing he noticed was my index finger nail with the brown streak through it," she said.

"I had a biopsy and one week later he confirmed it was a rare nail bed cancer. Another week later they took it off.

"It is a very aggressive melanoma that can quickly turn into lymphoma cancer."

The cancer is characterised by long brown or black streaks under the nail bed.
The cancer is characterised by long brown or black streaks under the nail bed. Contributed

Ms Holder had an operation locally to remove the tip and first knuckle of her index finger.

"It was a scary experience because it happened so quickly," she said.

"It was like a dream."

As a self-confessed sun lover, Ms Holder said the experience had changed her attitude.

"I am a lot more conscience of sun safety now," she said.

"I will have to have check-ups every three months, then every six months and then every 12 months."

Dr Roos said the prevalence of subungual melanoma was about one per million people each year.

"They are more common on thumbs and big toes, but they can be present on any digit," he said.

"Look out for parallel brown or black pigmented lines from the nail bed to the tip of the nail. It looks different to a blood blister.

"While this form of skin cancer is not common, occurrence of melanoma on the rest of the body is approximately one in 100 people, and we encourage people to have regular skin checks, especially the younger generation as melanoma is prevalent in the 15 to 45 age group.

"If you notice a lesion that changes in size, shape, colour or bleeds and does not heal properly, you should see a doctor about it straight away."

Do you get regular skin checks?

This poll ended on 13 October 2013.

Current Results

Yes

45%

No

54%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



Fragrant thief detects funnier side to charge

premium_icon Fragrant thief detects funnier side to charge

Quick-thinking chemist staff put cops on scent

School dance the start of 60 years of love and laughter

premium_icon School dance the start of 60 years of love and laughter

Couple insists there is no special secret to long marriage

How an avocado nearly cost weightlifter his national title

premium_icon How an avocado nearly cost weightlifter his national title

National champ knows actions speak louder than words.

Local Partners