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Doctors warn to check your nails for dangerous skin cancer

Posted: 8:38 AM, Sep 26, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-26 13:38:29Z

MILWAUKEE -- Going to the nail salon is about more than making your hands and feet look pretty. Aurora St. Luke Medical Center's director of surgical oncology tells us your nails can reveal serious health issues, that include skin cancer.

Doctor Aaron Chevinsky tells us to look for a persistent spot under your nail that will not grow out.

"It can be anything from a spot to a stripe to the whole nail bed being discolored," he said.

Dr. Chevinsky tells us often times melanoma of the fingers and toes are caught late. This could mean it has already spread and there is less they can do.

Studies are looking to connect skin cancer to the UV lights used during gel manicures. Doctor Chevinsky points out that a recent study from the American Medical Association found this exposure, in particular, is UV-A and not UV-B light. UV-B is light that comes from the sun and can cause skin burns.

"Secondly, its limited exposure," said Dr. Chevinsky. "Third it's not something you do every day."

He explained ways to protect yourself if you want to be on the safe side.

"Either putting a sunblock on your hands or getting gloves that are UV protected and just cut off the tips."

Dr. Chevinsky hopes everyone remembers the 'ABCDE Rule' when checking their bodies for skin cancer:

  • Asymmetry - One half of the mole doesn't match the other.
  • Border irregularity - Color that is not uniform.
  • Diameter - Greater than 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser).
  • Evolving - This includes shape and color.