Melanoma of the nail: signs and treatment

Sometimes in the human body, for no apparent reason, there is an ailment that is associated with uncontrolled self-reproduction of cells. One of the types of such ailments is the melanoma of the nail. The initial stage of the disease is not very noticeable and may resemble other destructive processes. Therefore, patients seek help at later stages.

Melanoma of the nail

Features of the disease

In simple terms, nail melanoma is a type of cancer that is characterized by aggressive development and a specific clinical picture. If you take all the cancer, then about 4 percent accounted for precisely this disease.

Medical statistics show that in most cases the thumb is to be defeated on the right hand. The preliminary stage of the oncological process proceeds secretly. On external parameters, it is not always possible to identify a cancerous formation.

Most often, the melanoma of the nail is stained with an epithelial pigment. In this case, to establish the correct diagnosis becomes much easier even with a preliminary examination with a doctor. About 20 percent of malignant tumors do not have this color, which complicates the diagnosis.

Melanoma of the nail: photo

Reasons for the appearance of

Various factors can lead to the degeneration of the cells of the nail plate:

  • the presence on the skin of benign neoplasms like moles, papillomas, warts and other outgrowths that began to form a tumor body;
  • congenital malformations of the epithelium with atypical influxes present on the fingers of the patient from the very beginning of life;
  • the course of the oncological process in any organs or parts of the body that led to the defeat of the nail plate with metastases;
  • formation under the nail plate of chancre, resulting from fungal or viral infection;
  • regular injury at the site of the tumor in severe physical conditions;
  • effect on the surface of the fingers of direct sunlight.

The above risk factors can give the oncological process an initial push. As a result, melanoma of the nail is formed. Photo with its development in later stages can not be confused with other diseases. By the appearance of the nail plate, it becomes immediately clear that there is a cancerous formation.

The main symptomatology of

For cancer, attention should be paid to a number of important points. Although the disease is easily confused with a common fungal infection, there are weighty signs that allow you to establish a diagnosis.

Nail Melanoma Initial

Usually draw attention to the following symptoms of nail melanoma:

  1. Tumor formation. Often formed a dense to the touch built-up from the degenerated cells. It is he who begins to destroy the structure of the nail plate. Pores appear on its surface, after which the layers are separated.
  2. Change the color of the nail. In fact, this is one of the most important signs of the course of the pathological process. The surface can be painted in blue, black, brown or purple. If the surface of the nail has changed color without any appreciable damage, then the patient should seek help from a medical institution.
  3. The presence of a vertical strip. With the growth of the body of the tumor, a clear vertical line is often formed, dividing the surface into two parts. It often appears in the center of the plate. A strip may change color over time. Everything will depend on the specific course of the oncological disease.
  4. Leaking pus from beneath the nail plate. At later stages, severe inflammation begins. A large amount of pus is allocated. The use of anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics in this case does not give the proper effect.
  5. Frequent pain in the affected area. When pressing on the finger, they become strongly pronounced. During periods of regular exacerbations, the pain intensifies even in a calm state. In the area of ​​oncology flow there is a distinct pulsation.
  6. Detachment of the nail from the base. When the disease progresses, the plate does not receive the necessary nutrition, so it starts to flake off the finger. Remains in sight only a soft cushion, modified by the ongoing oncological process.

Having two or more signs allows the doctor to assume that the patient has developed a foot or hand nail melanoma. Sometimes there are mistakes, for example, a specialist who examines a patient, confuses this ailment with a panaric disease that belongs to the category of infectious diseases.

Melanoma of the nail initial stage

Types of tumors and characteristics of

Melanomas can be of different types. The main types of such tumors are reflected in the table:

Types of tumors of the nail plate




Received the greatest distribution. With this development of events, changes in the cell are more likely to affect the external skin. Deep layers are affected only if there is no timely treatment.


For all characteristics, the tumor is similar to the one that was mentioned above. It develops, affecting the same layers of skin. Its peculiarity consists in uneven pigmentation.


Begins to appear on the surface layers of the skin, but gradually grows inside. The nail becomes a dark spot. Most often observed in black people.


Characterized by deep germination in the epithelial tissue. The tumor is characterized by the most aggressive nature of the lesion.

Stages of the course of the disease

In the first two stages of melanoma under the nail is quite limited in size. Expanding cells do not yet affect the deep tissues and internal organs. The risk of spread is not too high.

Melanoma under the fingernail

There are four main stages of the disease, the main evaluation criterion of which is the thickness of the formation:

  • In the first stage, the thickness of the formation is less than 1 mm. The surface of the nail has no obvious damage, ulcers are not found. When you press the pain is not felt.
  • In the second stage, the thickness reaches 2-4 mm. Small ulcerations appear. Often, the tubercles are formed directly on the nail plate.
  • In the third stage, the thickness of the formation is 4 mm or more. Tumor cells already reach the regional lymph nodes, creating there secondary foci.
  • In the fourth stage, it does not matter what thickness the tumor has reached. Metastases spread to various organs. Painful sensations are very strong. The size of the tumor grows considerably.

With regard to pain, they can appear already in the second stage, when the thickness of the build-up begins to reach 2-4 mm. However, this does not always happen. In some cases, pain does not occur until the very last stage, until the bone tissue of the finger begins to be completely affected.

The main diagnostic options for

It is important at the right time to accurately determine that melanoma of the nail has appeared. The initial phase of the development of the disease is treated much easier than the late one. To identify a dangerous ailment, special diagnostic measures are used:

  • general examination of urine and blood tests;
  • carrying out an MRI;
  • tissue collection for biopsy;
  • the nail plate's translucent by a special device;
  • implementation of ultrasound;
  • detection of oncological markers;
  • receiving a puncture from the lymph nodes.

The above options allow you to get certain information, but they are usually carried out in a complex. After studying the results, a concrete conclusion is made.

Foot Nail Melanoma

The process of treatment of

Before the treatment of a nail melanoma, the presence of metastases is determined. At the initial stages, the patient is removed by the surgical method. If necessary, healthy tissues located around the affected area are also affected. The phalanx is cut off only in neglected cases.

With the formation of metastases, the effectiveness of treatment is dramatically reduced. The patient may additionally be given radiation or chemical therapy. Sometimes lymph nodes are removed.

Survival prognosis

When evaluating the prospects for the treatment of nail melanoma, the stage of disease detection plays an important role. Even if the patient has recovered, it is necessary to monitor the state of health all the time. There is a high risk of recurrence of the disease. Sometimes even a few years later the disease returns.

Melanoma of the nail symptoms

The five-year survival rate in the presence of a tumor in percent is expressed as follows:

  • In the first stage, 95%.
  • In the second stage - 70%.
  • In the third stage - 30%.
  • In the fourth stage - 7%.

Low survival in the last stages is due to the appearance of metastases that can occur not only in the affected fingers, but also in other parts of the body.

Final part of

To avoid complex and prolonged treatment with nail melanoma, it is necessary to adhere to preventive measures. It is necessary to limit stay under the influence of direct sunlight, as well as to avoid harmful habits such as alcohol consumption and smoking of tobacco products. If you suspect a change in the nail plate, you should immediately consult a doctor.