Alana Severs, 36, from Portsmouth, Hampshire, admits that she ignored the embarrassing mark and covered the tiny line on her fingernail with red nail polish to hide it.
However, one night in January 2017, Alana came across an article on Cosmopolitan magazine’s website detailing how a line on your nail could be a symptom of an unusual type of cancer.
“I thought: ‘No way. That can’t be it,'” Alana said. “I sent screenshots to my partner in an absolute panic and said my nail looks exactly the same.”
Alana was terrified that she might have had cancer for so long but ignored the mark.
Panicked, she went to her GP the next day and they sent her for an urgent referral. After a biopsy, Alana, who’s a nurse, was diagnosed with melanoma. Doctors at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth, told Alana she needed her fingernail removed immediately before the cancer spread into her bloodstream.
The doctors removed Alana’s entire fingernail plus 5 millimeters of cancerous tissue.
“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,” Alana said.
As the cancer had just grown outwards and not traveled toward her blood, Alana felt “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,” she added.
Reflecting back on the situation, Alana said: “What I thought as a frivolous pastime, reading an article at 11 pm, while I was in bed turned out to save my life.”
Grateful for the article, Alana said: “I could have gone another three years without thinking anything of it and it could have spread and become deadly.”
After two surgeries, Alana has now been left without a fingernail, but she’s thankful she caught it before it spread. She’s had a skin graft from her arm to cover her wound.
“After the surgery I felt nauseous and it was painful for quite some time but it did heal,” Alana said. “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.”
Epoch Times Staff contributed to this report.