For three years, Alana Severs was embarrassed by a weird line on her fingernail and she covered it up with red nail polish.
After reading an article online, she realised it come be something more serious.
The 36-year-old saw her GP the next day and was given an urgent referral.
A biopsy showed she had melanoma – a type of skin cancer.
Surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, removed Alana’s entire fingernail plus 5mm of cancerous tissue.
The nurse is glad she finally got it checked out when she did as it was treated before it spread any further.
Now Alana has been left with no fingernail, but she is grateful that she caught that cancer before it spread.
Alana, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, said: ‘Because it was just a tiny line I never thought anything of it and I always wore red nail polish to cover it up because I was embarrassed about it.
‘Then reading this article made me panic.
‘But I’m relieved I came across it when I did – it might just have saved my life.’
In 2017, Alana spotted an article on Cosmopolitan magazine’s website about the relatively unknown symptom and she immediately knew that something could be wrong with her nail.
She said: ‘I thought: “No way. That can’t be it.”
‘I sent screenshots to my partner in an absolute panic and said my nail looks exactly the same.
‘I was terrified that I had cancer and couldn’t believe that I ignored it for so long.
‘I went to the GP the next day and it was an urgent referral.’
After getting a diagnosis, effexor and topamax interactions and anxiety doctors at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, told Alana she needed her fingernail removed immediately before it spread into her bloodstream.
She said: ‘By some miracle, although it had been growing outwards and the line was getting bigger, I was so lucky that it hadn’t started growing down yet so I was cured with a few surgeries.
‘It was literally reading an article that made me go to the doctors the next day.
‘They said it was brilliant that it hadn’t grown down into my hand.
‘It had just grown outwards so it hadn’t got to my blood yet.
‘I was so lucky that after three years it hadn’t done that.
‘It was one of those incredible things that it hadn’t, it could have gone down at any point.’
Although her fingernail has now gone, she is glad it was caught at that stage.
She said: ‘It really shook me up that I saw it in an article.
‘It was something that I had and I ignored.
‘I’d mentioned it in passing before but it was just rushed off.
‘What I thought as a frivolous pastime, reading an article at 11pm, while I was in bed turned out to save my life.
‘You don’t think that anything like that would change my life.
‘But my life was changed, just by reading an article.
‘I could have gone another three years without thinking anything of it – and it could have spread and become deadly.’
Now Alana has been left with no fingernail and had to have a skin graft from her arm to cover her wound.
She said: ‘After the surgery I felt nauseous and it was painful for quite some time but it did heal.
‘Now it doesn’t bother me at all.
‘I would rather lose my whole arm and get rid of the cancer than risk it spreading.’
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