When it comes to checking on our nails, we chicken out. But hold up, hear us out… Many folks are aware that frequent self-screenings are suggested to identify cancer before symptoms appear. Women, for instance, should check their breasts on a regular basis for abnormalities or other changes. Men should get their testicles examined. In addition, everyone should check their skin for increases in moles or other anomalies. Less generally recognized is that our fingernails may provide insight into what’s going on within our bodies, including indicators of cancer.
Nails that break easily may be caused by calcium, iron, or vitamin B deficiencies—concerns that may be handled by eating more calcium-rich foods, such as milk or cheese, or by taking supplements.
This might also signal various health risks. If the body isn’t getting enough oxygen, the nails may have a bluish tint, but nails that lack pigment may signal anaemia or cardiomyopathy and necessitate a doctor’s visit.
Nail fungus, which usually shows as discolored areas on the toes rather than the fingers, originates when minute gaps in the nail or cuticle enable fungi to enter. The fungus will most likely thicken the nail, increasing the susceptibility to fracturing or splitting. A fungal infection can result from nail damage, but it can also be an indication of diabetes. Diabetics may have difficulty feeling their feet due to nerve loss, which is a typical side effect of diabetes.
Some cancer therapies might cause nail deterioration or alterations. Medication is usually the cause of nail alterations, however, radiation can also induce nail changes. Normal cells, such as nail cells, can be affected in a variety of ways by various therapies. Their adverse effects might also have a varied effect on nails. Changes might impact one, two, a few, or all of your nails. Some changes occur shortly after you begin therapy, while others may occur weeks or months later. Some may be transient, while others may be long-term or irreversible.
Keep in mind that, while some malignancies and cancer treatments can cause changes in your nails, so can non-cancer diseases and drugs. It’s critical to inform your physician about any medical issues you may be experiencing, as well as the drugs, vitamins, minerals, and supplements you’re taking so that your risk may be addressed and you know what’s coming. A modification in your nails or half-moons does not necessarily indicate the presence of an illness.
Even so, if you observe any abnormalities, you should consult a board-certified dermatologist. Dermatologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of skin, hair, and nails. They have the knowledge to determine if the alteration is innocuous or necessitates medical examination.