Nail fungus is generally more of an annoyance than a serious health risk. When nails start looking discolored, misshapen, or opaque, treating it is generally just a matter of killing the fungus and preventing its spread -- while allowing for a new, healthy nail to grow into its place. Granted, this can be a lot easier said than done, and having nail fungus can bring its fair share of sorrow, but only in extreme cases does it rise above that level of severity.
But a young woman in England is making news for an unusual case that serves as an important reminder to pay close attention to nail abnormalities, and being proactive with treatment.
Melanie Williams noticed discoloration under her nail one day, she said via a Facebook post. The black mark "grew from nothing in a matter of a few weeks. I thought it was a fungal infection or a wart. Sadly not."
Thankfully for Williams she was quick to have the spot looked at, because what she thought might be nail fungus or a wart, turned out to be skin cancer.
It doesn't look like Williams had the classic symptoms of nail fungus, such as yellowing or opaque appearance, and brittleness or a distorted shape, so it was unlikely to be nail fungus to begin with, and unlikely most people would make this mistake. But the lesson is still an important one: If you notice a new growth or infection, don't take it lightly. Be proactive in determining treatment options, consult a professional if necessary, and observe how things change or evolve over time. If it turns out to be something more than it originally seemed, like in Williams' case, you'll be happy you did.
It's also not a bad idea to learn to identify the symptoms of nail fungus so you can identify an infection, or avoid mistakenly thinking you have it -- here are some articles to help: