A woman who thought a streak that had been growing on her nail for years was “cool” was horrified to be told what it really was.
Maria Sylvia said she first noticed the dark brown mark ten years ago – but thought nothing of it, as she was “in and out of doctors all the time” due to being an athlete.
“Me: Having this for ten years, thinking it was a cool streak in my nail,” she wrote as an on-screen caption. “It’s cancer.”
The TikToker, who posts as @invrfoundwaldo, noticed that the line became darker over the course of a year, and the former athlete, who notes she was always visiting the doctors for physicals, said most doctors failed to notice it.
One doctor noticed the line on her nail, but because she “didn’t fit the demographics” no tests were done at the time but she was told to see a doctor if the line grew bigger.
She explained that because she “didn’t really have any issue” with the mark, her diagnosis was delayed. “I didn’t have any pain with it, so I just figured it was a mole because that’s what they told me, that it was most likely a mole in my nail bed,” she explained.
Because so many people were interested in her post about the skin cancer growing underneath her thumbnail, Sylvia decided to share a series of updates in the form of TikTok videos.
She explained that she first noticed the streak in December 2012 when it was very faint. However, it got darker over the years until she finally realized that she was dealing with a rare form of cancer.
It wasn’t until a friend pushed her to get a biopsy that she found out she had subungual melanoma.
Melanoma, in general, is considered the most deadly type of skin cancer. Paying attention to moles or growths on your skin is an easy way to look out for melanoma since changes to a mole you’ve had for a while or developing a new growth you don’t remember having on your skin could be signs of this cancer, according to SurvivorNet’s experts.
While checking your nails for melanoma skin cancer, look for things like dark streaks and nail splitting. If you see one or any of these indications of skin cancer when examining your nails, don’t jump to the conclusion that you have cancer, but definitely get it checked out.
Fortunately, she was still at stage 0, which meant that cancer had not yet grown deeper than the top layer of her skin.
“I was informed that this cancer can stay in situ (also known as stage 0) for 10-13 years before hitting stage 1,” she told said. “I felt relief that I got it looked at when I did, but I knew there was more to come for getting rid of this cancer.”
Because the results came back clear, she was approved for a skin graft from her arm which she recently had done. Her thumb and arm are still all bandaged up, so she doesn’t know what it looks like yet, but she’ll eventually share pictures when all is said and done.
Now, Sylvia is encouraging everyone to get screened for cancer, AWM noted:
“I think some people are afraid to confront the possibility of having cancer and facing their mortality,” she told said. “The biggest thing I have urged is to put your mind at ease and follow through with seeing someone. If this is caught early, it is very curable, and having a wonky thumb for a month or two is better than not having one at all.”