Worried about a black stripe on my nail
Dr Grant Coe.
Health, Fitness & Wellbeing

Worried about a black stripe on my nail
The Skin Cancer Channel with Moleman, Dr Grant Coe

MoleMan is a full service mole and skin cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment facility in Northcote Point. Their skin cancer doctors can map and identify skin cancers on the spot, as well as provide any necessary surgery, treatment and follow-up care. The team at MoleMan aims to provide exceptional patient care, at an affordable price, in a warm, welcoming and friendly environment.

Chief MoleMan, Dr Grant Coe, has had extensive experience in skin cancer screening and surgery, both in New Zealand and Australia, and will be answering questions as well as sharing advice, tips and information each month in Channel Magazine. 

Worried about a black stripe on my nail

Question: I’m a 50-year-old woman of European and Maori descent and I’ve had a blackish stripe on my big toenail for a few months now. Originally I thought I may have bruised my toe, underneath the nail, but the stripe isn’t growing out or going away over time. Is there a chance this could be a skin cancer?

Dr Coe: Yes, this is something you should have checked out by a doctor or skin specialist immediately, as it could be a melanoma. Called "subungal (under a nail) melanoma" this form of skin cancer occurs with equal frequency in males and females, appears most often in people over 50, but can develop at any age, and is seen most often under the nail of the thumb or big toe. 

The most common warning sign is the appearance of a brown to black-coloured streak underneath the nail, which is often mistaken for a bruise. For this reason, a doctor is usually not consulted. Subungal melanoma should be suspected whenever a nail streak appears without known injury to the nail, the nail discolouration does not gradually disappear, as would a bruise, or the size of the nail streak increases over time. Early detection is the key to a postive outcome from melanoma, and other skin cancers, so if you do have a mole or lesion of concern, it is always best to get it checked out as soon as possible. 

Call the MoleMan team today to enquire about melanoma and skin cancer checks with digital dermoscopy (mole mapping) technology on 0800 DR MOLE (376653) or 09 480 6416 or visit www.moleman.co.nz for pricing and frequently asked questions. Dr Coe is also an affiliated provider to Southern Cross for skin cancer surgery and selected services. 


By Channel Editorial

Channel Magazine: Issuu 49 November 2014

Columnist articles by Channel Editorial