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Doctor insights on: Melanoma Under The Toenail

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Dr. Mike Bowman
958 doctors shared insights

Skin Cancer (Definition)

A condition in which some element of your skin--which is one of the most complex organs in the body--degenerates into cancer. The three most common types of skin cancer are: basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma which occur in that order and degree of aggressiveness. Although heredity plays a major role, sun exposure and tobacco use and ...Read more


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Could I have acral lentiginous melanoma? I have a thick white nail streak on my toenail that has been there for about a year. I am half black.

Could I have acral lentiginous melanoma? I have a thick white nail streak on my toenail that has been there for about a year. I am half black.

Melanoma : Most melanomas in the nail region appear as a black or brown /black irregular streak. However, a dermatologist should examine the area to make sure acral melanoma is not present. ...Read more

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Horizontal dark spot across second toenail, appeared rather suddenly and no pain. Could it just be a hematoma or a subungual melanoma?

Horizontal dark spot across second toenail, appeared rather suddenly and no pain. Could it just be a hematoma or a subungual melanoma?

Could be either: Have it checked out....btw, that's a great differential diagnosis. You would make a wonderful doctor. You should consider going premed. ...Read more

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Hello. I've noticed a light brown mark underneath my big toenail. No trauma that I can think of it does not hurt. Had melanoma on nose 5 yrs ago?

See doctor: Melanomas can occur under nails. Given your history, it is prudent that you see a doctor to ascertain if the lesion needs to be removed. ...Read more

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About 5 mm black spot on my toenail. It's on the white part (the nail where it grows). The spot grew bigger upward in 2 day. Could it be melanoma?

About 5 mm black spot on my toenail. It's on the white part (the nail where it grows). The spot grew bigger upward in 2 day. Could it be melanoma?

Trauma?: Do you remember any trauma to the toenail? A collection of blood underneath the toenail can also appear like this. The safest thing to do is to show this to your friendly dermatologist. While it would be rare of a 20-year old to have a melanoma, it does happen occasionally.

Remember to protect your skin. Limit your exposure to UV radiation. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 ...Read more

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5 yr old with brownish streak on toenail. Appt w/DERMATOLOGIST this Tues. Recovery time/pain if biopsied? How likely is it Melanoma for a child?

5 yr old with brownish streak on toenail. Appt w/DERMATOLOGIST this Tues. Recovery time/pain if biopsied? How likely is it Melanoma for a child?

ANSWER: Post-op pain should be minimal. Recovery should be fairly quick. To my knowledge, there may be less than ten reports in the scientific literature of subungual melanoma in kids, so not common. ...Read more

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Biopsy on 3 toenails with longitudinal streaks. No evidence of melanocytes (melanoma) or fungus. Consistent with scar tissue. Patho and Dr stumped???

Biopsy on 3 toenails with longitudinal streaks. No evidence of melanocytes (melanoma) or fungus. Consistent with scar tissue. Patho and Dr stumped???

Event marker...: I wish I knew if all three toenails involved were on the same foot., or even contingent toes. Longitudinal markings do not have to be from melanoma or fungus. The streaks come from the nail matrix area. Something has caused the root to mark the new nails as they grow. This could be from chemical, thermal or physical damage to the root areas. Sometime it's permanent and other times temporary. ...Read more

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Is toenail melanoma on the nail bed, or within the nail? I had a bruise like spot (no trauma) appear, but was able to cut about half of it off.

Is toenail melanoma on the nail bed, or within the nail? I had a bruise like spot (no trauma) appear, but was able to cut about half of it off.

A streak: It appears as a dark streak in the direction the nail goes. If you have a concerning lesion under your toenail you should see your friendly dermatologist. ...Read more

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I recently noticed a light brown stripe going down my thumbnail. Could it be a melanoma? I'm black & struggle with toenail fungus but not on my hands.

I recently noticed a light brown stripe going down my thumbnail. Could it be a melanoma? I'm black & struggle with toenail fungus but not on my hands.

I understand your co: Your concern is valid as melanoma in blacks affects nail beds more often than in whites.
But what it is too early to tell.
I would advise you to look closely at the upper end of the nail fold(near the skin junction) and see if there is any growth or redness there.
Also, watch this streak for any changes over the next few weeks. If it changes, i.e. Becomes darker or larger, then see a dermatologist ...Read more

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I have a 1.5 centimeter melanoma on the bottom of my foot. How serious is the depth of this?

I have a 1.5 centimeter melanoma on the bottom of my foot.  How serious is the depth of this?

Thick: Melanomas are considered thin when they are less than 1 mm thick and they are considered thick when they are greater than 4 mm thick. If your melanoma is truly 1.5 cm thick, this would indeed be a very thick melanoma. Check with your doctor to be sure about the depth and that it is not 1.5 mm. A 1.5 cm melanoma would be at high risk for lymph node and distant spread and has a poor prognosis. ...Read more

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I just noticed a freckle on the bottom of my foot that was not there before. How do I know if it is plantar melanoma?

I just noticed a freckle on the bottom of my foot that was not there before.  How do I know if it is plantar melanoma?

See your doctor: While this might be something very benign, it is important that you see your doctor with something that is very new or changed in appearance. You might need a biopsy to determine what it is, and appropriate care started. Some skin lesions can get worse quickly (such as melanoma). Get it looked at! ...Read more

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I have a dark brown flat patch on the top of my left foot formonths and two tiny patches on the right foot. I was told by afriend that its likely melanoma. Is it true?

I have a dark brown flat patch on the top of my left foot formonths and two tiny patches on the right foot. I was told by afriend that its likely melanoma. Is it true?

Any pigmented lesion: Should be examined. However, not every pigmented lesion is a melanoma. Doctors, podiatrists and dermatologists alike may use a dermascope to better study the lesion or take a biopsy if they deem it suspicious in nature. Asymmetry, irregular border color changes and diameter of lesion are all signs that are looked at. ...Read more

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I'm scaeed. Can plantar warts indicate foot melanoma?

I'm scaeed. Can plantar warts indicate foot melanoma?

No: Plantar warts do not cause melanoma. However, melanoma can develop on the soles of your hands and feet. See your dermatologist to make the correct diagnosis. ...Read more

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How do you treat a malignant melanoma on bottom of foot?

Same treatment: Treatment will be dictated by the same features as any melanoma: physical exam for possible metastatic disease, tumor thickness, ulceration, and mitotic rate. Thus, the treatment will likely include wide excision and possibly sentinel node biopsy. The main difference for this location is that reconstruction of the primary site could require skin graft or a flap. ...Read more

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I had this on my foot for over a month: http://i50. Tinypic. Com/2lt6fdd. Jpg. It itched before. Is this melanoma? My family has a history of cancer.

I had this on my foot for over a month: http://i50. Tinypic. Com/2lt6fdd. Jpg. It itched before. Is this melanoma?  My family has a history of cancer.

Difficult to say: As you can imagine, skin lesions of any type are difficult to diagnosis definitively without an examination. Recurring lesions can be due to allergies, eczema, infections or other causes. Best to see your family doctor, internist, or dermatologist to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. ...Read more

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Age51, 254pounds, 5, 6feet female was diagnosed with melanoma in 2011, march. Many operations, foot got bigger, can't sleep. Got chemo, didn't help. Any solution?

Age51, 254pounds, 5, 6feet female was diagnosed with melanoma in 2011, march. Many operations, foot got bigger, can't sleep. Got chemo, didn't help. Any solution?

Still have melanoma?: If sleeping is the problem- great! See your doc for a list a behavior modification to help sleep, drugs last resort. If lymph edema is problem- compression, massage, time. Consider free lymph node transfer if persists (~50% success). If you have distant spread please ask your doc to help you enroll in the anti-pd 1 trials for metastatic melanoma, 4 places in the us, dana farber (boston) is one. ...Read more

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Hello, I'm 28 yr old indian male. I found 2 light brown streaks on my left toe nail with an overall yellow tint. Is it melanoma? No history in family.

Hello, I'm 28 yr old indian male. I found 2 light brown streaks on my left toe nail with an overall yellow tint. Is it melanoma? No history in family.

ABCDEF: A-African-Am, Native-Am, Asian-Am, Age 5th-7th decade.
B-Brown/Black. Breadth 3mm or more.
C-Color change.
D-Digit. Thumb/big toe most common.
E-Extension via Hutchinson Sign.
F-Family history.
When in doubt-biopsy. It's simple. ...Read more

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I have a black spot under my big toe nail I'm only 19 and just discovered it yesterday, I'm worried it might be melanoma?

Black spot nail: It could be melanoma, but is more likely a small hematoma or blood clot after trauma. If you are concerned, seek medical advice immediately. ...Read more

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How likely is melanoma on a "mole" flat to skin, sole of foot has been there AT LEAST 10 years, doesn't seem to have changed and approx 4-5 mm.?

Unlikely: If not changed in 10 years not melanoma, keep eye on it, if does see dermatologist, if worried get it frozen off or cut out for peace of mind and any other moles[irregular borders, colors, shape, growing yes get off. ...Read more

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I have a black spot under my third toe on my right foot. It's small but covers 1/4 of the toe. I'm wondering if I should be concerned about melanoma.

I have a black spot under my third toe on my right foot. It's small but covers 1/4 of the toe. I'm wondering if I should be concerned about melanoma.

ABCDEF: A-Age; 5-7 decade. African-Am, Asian-Am, Native-Am.
B-Brown or black. Width greater than 3mm.
C-Change
D-Digit. Thumb or big toe most common.
E-Extension of color change to skin.
F-Positive family history.
When in doubt, see a doctor. ...Read more

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Is it possible for a mole to fade away on the side of my foot? It has been there for as long as I can remember. It was never odd looking that I can remember. Concerned about melanoma regression.

Is it possible for a mole to fade away on the side of my foot? It has been there for as long as I can remember.  It was never odd looking that I can remember.  Concerned about melanoma regression.

Unlikely: You will need to check the mole regularly to make sure it is not getting larger or irregular. Change in color will also be an alarming sign. The problem with a mole at the side of the foot is that it is subject to irritation which is a risk factor for melanoma to occur. ...Read more

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Big toe nail melanoma: should I see a podiatrist or dematologist?

Melanoma treatment: My recomendation is neither. Melanoma if not treated properly or if advanced can be life threatening. I recommend seeing a surgical oncologist, plastic surgeon in particular along with a medical oncologist to follow you. ...Read more

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Who is more qualified to remove or biopsy a melanoma under a toe nail? Dermatologist or podiatrist? Thx

Either: Both can effectively remove a localized melanoma in the foot. A dermatologist would be better versed to deal with systemic spread should that occur. ...Read more

Dr. Arnold Beresh
340 doctors shared insights

Toenails (Definition)

Toenails are the hard coverings at the end of the toes. Nails are made out of a protein called keratin. They function to protect the end of the toe and to increase sensitivity of touch. Good nail care is important to prevent ...Read more


Dr. Travis Kidner
2,634 doctors shared insights

Melanoma (Definition)

Cancer of the melanocyte cells. Melanocyte cells determine the color of your skin. Although these cells are primarily found in your skin, they can also be found in the bowel ...Read more