One woman discovered she had fatal cancer after stumbling upon an article over a tiny line in her fingernail that she ignored for three years.
Alana Severs, 36, ignored the tiny stain on her fingernail for years – she covered it with red nail polish to hide the “embarrassing line”.
But Alana discovered an article on the Cosmopolitan magazine website in January 2017 detailing how a line on your nail can be a symptom of an unusual type of cancer.
In a panic, Alana went to her family doctor the next day and they sent her for an urgent referral.
After a biopsy, Alana was diagnosed with melanoma and had to undergo two operations to remove the cancer.
Surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth removed Alana’s entire fingernail plus 5mm of cancerous tissue.
Alana has now run out of a fingernail, but she is grateful that she caught the cancer before it spread.
Alana, a nurse from Portsmouth, Hampshire, said, “Because it was just a tiny line I never thought of anything and I always wore red nail polish to cover it up because I was embarrassed.
“Then reading this article panicked me.
“But I’m relieved that I came across it – it might have saved my life.”
When Alana first discovered the article on the Cosmopolitan magazine website, she knew immediately that something was wrong with her nail.
She said, “I thought, ‘No way. That can not be.’
Alana’s thumb recorded the night after reading the article
“In total panic, I sent screenshots to my partner and said that my nail looked the same.
“I was scared I had cancer and couldn’t believe I had ignored it for so long.
“I went to the family doctor the next day and it was an urgent referral.”
Doctors at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth told Alana that her fingernail must be removed immediately before it spreads into her bloodstream.
She said, “By a miracle, even though it had grown outward and the line got bigger, I was fortunate that it hadn’t started to grow yet, so I was cured with a few surgeries.
“It was literally reading an article that made me go to the doctor the next day.
Alana’s thumb healing
“You said it was great that it didn’t grow into my hands.
“It had only grown outward, so it hadn’t got into my blood yet.
“I was so lucky that it hadn’t done that after three years.
“It was one of those incredible things it didn’t have, it could have gone down anytime.”
Alana’s thumb after the operation
Now Alana has been left without a fingernail, but she is grateful that she caught him before he spreads.
She said, “I was really shocked that I saw it in an article.
“It was something I had that I ignored.
“I mentioned it casually, but it was just rushed.
“What I thought was a frivolous pastime reading an article at 11pm while in bed saved my life.
Alana’s thumb healing
“You don’t think that something like this would change my life.
“But reading an article changed my life.
“I could have stayed three more years without thinking anything about it – and it could have spread and been fatal.”
Now Alana has no fingernail and had to have a skin graft from her arm to cover her wound.
Alana with husband Nathaniel Severs on their wedding day
She said, “After the operation, I felt nauseous and it was painful for a while, but it was healing.
“Now it doesn’t bother me at all.
“I’d rather lose my whole arm and get rid of the cancer than risk it spreading.”