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WARNING: CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT
A woman was shocked to find out a tiny line on her fingernail was actually a sign of cancer, having ignored it for three years.
Alana Severs, 36, often covered the small mark on her fingernail with red nail varnish, admitting she felt 'embarrassed' by it.
However, when she read an article on Cosmopolitan magazine's website in January 2017, she found out that a line on your nail can be a symptom of an unusual type of cancer.
After going to see her GP the next day, Severs was sent for an urgent referral and had a biopsy taken.
She was then diagnosed with melanoma, and had to have two surgeries to remove the cancer.
Severs, a nurse 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."
Surgeons at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth removed Severs' entire fingernail, along with 5mm of cancerous growth, and had to have a skin graft from her arm to cover the wound.
While she has been left with no fingernail, Severs feels grateful that the cancer was caught before it spread.
She continued: "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."
After spotting the Cosmopolitan article online, Severs went into an instant panic - sending her partner screenshots, saying her nail looked 'exactly the same'.
"I was terrified that I had cancer and couldn't believe that I ignored it for so long," she said.
Thankfully, medics were able to remove the nail before the cancer spread into her bloodstream.
Severs continued: "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."
Admitting the mark was simply something she had 'ignored', Severs added: "What I thought as a frivolous pastime, reading an article at 11pm, while I was in bed turned out to save my life.
"I could have gone another three years without thinking anything of it - and it could have spread and become deadly."
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