Signs and symptoms of subungual melanoma by US woman who noticed a ‘cool streak’ under her thumbnail for 10 years

A woman who noticed a “cool streak” under her thumbnail for 10 years discovered the brown stripe was actually cancer.

Maria Sylvia, from the US, said she first noticed a pale line under her nail bed in 2012 – but she was told it was “likely a mole”.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: How woman’s streak turned out to be cancer

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But a decade later, the 25-year-old was given shock news after she was diagnosed with subungual melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer that occurs under nails.

“Me: Having this for 10 years thinking it was a cool streak in my nail,” she said in a viral TikTok video.

“It’s cancer…. I wish I were joking.”

Maria Sylvia who noticed a “cool streak” under her thumbnail for 10 years (left) discovered the brown stripe was actually cancer.
Maria Sylvia who noticed a “cool streak” under her thumbnail for 10 years (left) discovered the brown stripe was actually cancer. Credit: invrfoundwaldo/TikTok

After spotting a faint line under her thumbnail 10 years ago, Maria said she noticed the streak turned darker within one year.

“I had seen doctors, I was in and out of doctors’ [appointments] all the time. I was an athlete so I was getting [check-ups] every year,” she explained.

“No one really noticed it until one time, a doctor did notice it. This was probably circa 2014.

“They were like, ‘Oh that’s odd but you don’t fit the demographics’ so if it grows any bigger, go and see a doctor. So by then, it already grew to its full extent.”

‘I figured it was a mole’

Maria said she never experienced anything unusual about the mark.

“It’s very likely that this has been sitting for 10 years and it’s been cancerous for the last three, it’s kind of hard to tell,” she said.

“[However] I didn’t really have any issue, I didn’t have any pain with it so I figured it was a mole because that’s what they told me… It was likely a mole in my nail bed.”

She first noticed a pale line (right) under her nail bed in 2012 - but she was told it was “likely a mole”.
She first noticed a pale line (right) under her nail bed in 2012 – but she was told it was “likely a mole”. Credit: invrfoundwaldo/TikTok

But she decided to undergo a biopsy after her friend encouraged her to get checked earlier this year.

“My friend really pushed me to go do it, so I did it,” she said.

Fortunately the cancer didn’t spread after she was diagnosed with stage 0 subungual melanoma.

“Everything looks good, it didn’t spread. I’m super lucky and very thankful,” she said.

Maria said she didn’t require any further treatment – but she needed to undergo a skin graft using the skin from her arm to patch up her thumb.

“It doesn’t hurt too bad, pretty sensitive but most of the pain is pretty good, it’s tolerable,” she said after her skin graft surgery.

all-clear

Maria said she was given the all clear after her “results came back clean”.

The 25-year-old was diagnosed with subungual melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer that occurs under nails, after a biopsy.
The 25-year-old was diagnosed with subungual melanoma, a rare form of skin cancer that occurs under nails, after a biopsy. Credit: Tran, Cindy

By speaking out, she wanted to urge everyone to get checked if they notice anything unusual about their nails.

“This is a very rare cancer, especially for my demographic but there’s no harm in going to see a doctor,” she said.

Maria has been sharing updates about her biopsy and diagnosis on social media.

‘I’m worried’

Her first video has been viewed more than 25 million times – with many confessing they have a similar mark.

“I have one on my left thumb. Had it for years. It’s a small brown line on my left thumb. Now I’m worried,” one wrote.

Another said: “I had this exact cancer! I had my thumb amputated a year ago and cancer free! Six surgeries, and five years later.”

Another added: “Literally everybody analyzing their own nails now.”

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