Melanoma of the nail or subungual melanoma (lat. "melanoma", from the ancient Greek "μέλας" - "black" + "-ομα" - "tumor") is a malignant disease that develops from specialized skin cells (melanocytes) that produce melanins. It occurs not only on the inside of the hand and the sole of the foot, but also on the nails (most often the fingernail of the thumb or leg is affected, but the damage to other nails and fingers is not excluded).
Among all cancers, the frequencythe occurrence of melanoma of the nail is about 3% in women, and in men - about 4%. Previously, it was always believed that subungual melanoma can occur mainly in elderly people, but now this malignant tumor has been observed increasingly in young people.
In comparison with other cancersthe growth of the melanoma of the nail occurs much faster, since the organism is very weak or there is no response at all to it. Therefore, according to statistics, after malignant tumors of the lungs this ailment takes the second place.
There are several types of subungual melanoma:
Melanoma of the nail is affected by people of all races,regardless of country of residence and status. In fact, at the present time, science has not fully established the causes of the appearance of this disease. However, it is possible to isolate the factors that influence the transformation of healthy cells into malignant cells. The groups of risk include:
In most cases with progressiondiseases vary and the symptoms of nail melanoma. Therefore, it is extremely important not to lose sight of the first signs characterizing the onset of malignant formation in time, because, as a rule, the early development of the disease is asymptomatic. But in later stages, the following symptoms begin to appear:
So, you already know what melanoma looks like. The above signs will allow the doctor to suspect pathological destruction of epidermal tissues and the presence of this dangerous disease in the patient. In some cases, a specialist who examines a patient confuses a dermatological affliction with a panaritic infectious nature of origin and prescribes surgical sanitation of the affected skin surface.
The precious time that would have to be used for tumor therapy is lost, and the signs of cancer return again and with a more vivid manifestation of the clinical picture.
Since very often neoplasms underthe nail has no color, in half of the cases of this disease, unfortunately, the external symptoms are noticed by the sick too late. Melanoma of this kind of nail can be seen only if a nodule begins to form under the plate, which raises the nail up.
It should be noted that this diseaseare subject to the same degree of both hands and feet. If a malignant tumor has spread to the sole, then it provokes obvious discomfort during movement. In the early stages this disease is so asymptomatic that sometimes doctors confuse it with ordinary skin warts.
So, let's select all the stages of the melanoma of the nail:
Everyone should remember that the symptoms of subungual melanoma are important in time to recognize.
The reason for a visit to a specialist should beany pigmentary change of the nail plate, especially if it increased in size (up to 3 mm or more), because the melanoma of the nail at an early stage often has ambiguous signs. To determine the malignancy of the neoplasm under the nail, qualified specialists use a dermatoscope - a special optical microscope used to scan the horny layer of the nail and skin to assess the pathological changes visually: the extent of spread, the size and thickness of the tumor. Next, you will learn how to distinguish the subungual melanoma from the hematoma.
If during dermatoscopy it was revealedmalignant origin of the tumor, the next step the doctor appoints an additional biopsy that allows you to remove the suspicious formation along with the area surrounding his skin and study in the laboratory a cut of tissues under a more powerful microscope and determine whether it is unequivocal whether it is a malignant tumor or a common hematoma.
Sometimes it happens that the histologicalthe study refutes the patient's presence of melanoma of the nail and diagnoses other diseases: subungual hematoma, which is usually formed due to bleeding or bruising, fungal infection, purulent granuloma, paronychia, squamous cell carcinoma. If a malignant tumor is found in the histological examination, the ultrasound examination (ultrasound) of organs and the tomography are the final step to exclude the presence of metastases. How long does subungual melanoma develop? About this below.
Melanoma along with a portion of healthy tissues, andsubcutaneous fat and muscle completely removed (excised) surgically. Sometimes it happens that melanoma has already spread. Then, together with her completely remove the nail plate, and in especially neglected cases, the whole phalanx of the finger of the hand or leg is amputated. Also, if a patient is diagnosed with a nail melanoma, he is prescribed a lymphatic tissue biopsy, which will help doctors determine the extent of the spread of the malignant tumor to the local lymph nodes. Subungual melanoma of the thumb is common.
If as a result of histological examinationMetastases are detected, then they are further removed. In addition, complete removal of lymph nodes is prescribed, and further, depending on the individual characteristics of the patient's body, complex or combined treatment is prescribed.
Additional methods to combat this disease are:
If the nail plate did not remove anything, then after the operation to remove melanoma the nail again grows.
If the patient in the medical institution was provided with timely and competent help, then the forecast for him will be very favorable.
If the patient does not bother to turn in timeto a qualified specialist whose visit was prolonged for a long period, then the tumor can already give metastases and the treatment process in this case is greatly complicated, because the chances for survival are decreasing. Approximately 15 to 87% of patients survive the diagnosis after five years.
Therefore, appreciate your health, do not neglect it and at the first symptoms immediately consult a doctor.</ p>