A nail technician has shared a photo online of her client's nail with a dark stripe down the middle to urge people to be aware of the little-known symptom of deadly skin cancer.
Jean Skinner, from Essex, posted the image on Facebook and explained that the woman had initially dismissed the mark as a blood blister.
However, Jean explains she immediately knew that it probably indicated melanoma - – the most serious form of skin cancer – and advised her to seek urgent medical help.
She wrote that the client called her to say she had since been diagnosed with aggressive melanoma, and that it has spread to her lymph nodes.
The client had dismissed the stripe as a blood blister or a sign of a calcium deficiency until the nail technician urged her to seek medical advise – then she was diagnosed with skin cancer
Jean posted: 'I had a walk-in nail client a couple weeks ago. She had a straight dark vertical stripe down her nail. She said "I need a colour dark enough to cover this stripe".
The woman had been told by others the mark could be a blood blister or due to a calcium deficiency.
'I did not want to frighten my client, but I told her she needed to see her doctor immediately,' she wrote.
'She called me today to tell me that, yes, the dark stripe indicated a very aggressive melanoma, and that it has already spread to her lymph nodes. Her prognosis is not good.'
Pay attention to nail changes
Symptoms that most people think of when they think of skin cancer are change in appearance to moles and the emergence of lumps and ulcers.
Jean cautioned people to take note of changes in their nail beds too.
'Please pay attention to abnormalities in your nail beds! Odd changes in your nails can very likely be nothing to worry about! But sometimes it is an