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Subtle signs on your fingers that could be sign you’re at risk of cancer

Subtle signs on your fingers that could be sign you’re at risk of cancer

A new study has claimed to have found a link between this small change in your nails and your risk of developing cancer

A study has claimed a subtle change in our bodies means we could be at risk for cancer - and it's somewhere you might not expect to look.

Around 167,000 people die from cancer every year in the UK according to Macmillan, meaning that keeping your eye out for any changes to your body which could mean something sinister is important.

Symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, changes in bowl or bladder habits, lumps and new moles are things we know to get checked out - but did you ever think to check your hands for signs as well?

Turns out our fingernails could also reveal warning signs.

According to a new study, changes to your nails could potentially be a symptom of a syndrome which can increase your risk of cancer.

An important change to look out for on your nails is the appearance of a dark line running vertically down the nail from the nail bed to the tip.

The lines are known scientifically as melanonychia, and can be either brown or black in colour.

Discolouration does not necessarily mean you should be immediately worried, as the change can also be caused by trauma or pregnancy. People with a darker complexion are also more likely to develop the lines.

However it's worth getting them checked to rule out anything sinister, especially as recent studies have revealed it could be a sign of BAP1 tumour predisposition syndrome.

Stripes in the nails are something to look out for (JAMA Network)
Stripes in the nails are something to look out for (JAMA Network)

According to the US National Cancer Institute, the rare syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation with affects a gene that stops the body from developing into cancer.

The mutation means you're at a higher risk of developing tumours of the skin, eye, kidney, and mesothelium (the tissue that lines the chest and abdomen).

These tumours can develop at any age and are fast growing, however it's important to note that not everyone with the mutation will develop cancer. Benign tumours can also occur.

Another sign to look out for is a small thickened area growing under the nail along with a white line.

Other changes in your nails which you should get checked out are:

  • Nails lifting away from the bed
  • Redness and swelling around the nail
  • Irregular pigment (such as green or black colours)
  • Discolouration of the skin around the nail
  • Any other significant nail changes such as splits, cracks or deformities
It comes following a new study. (Getty stock photo)
It comes following a new study. (Getty stock photo)

Surprisingly your fingers can also reveal if you are at risk of developing lung cancer, with clubbing of the nails seen as an early warning sign for the disease. Cancers often associated with clubbing are lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Clubbing is a common symptom of issues related to the heart or lungs as well as diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Image/JAMA Network

Topics: Health, Cancer