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Nail-ing a potential cancer risk that exists just beneath the surface - Pittsburgh dermatologist explains

Local dermatologist takes to TikTok to explain certain cancer risks
Local dermatologist takes to TikTok to explain certain cancer risks 02:42

BELLE VERNON, Pa. (KDKA) - A Belle Vernon native and well-recognized dermatologist is taking to TikTok with an important warning - check your fingernails! 

Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky, or Dr. Z, has 1.4 million followers on TikTok and she sent them a message, a 48-second clip with a warning specifically about your fingernails. 

"If you have a dark, pigmented, vertical streak going down your nail, this absolutely should be checked and this is why - it could potentially be a very serious form of skin cancer called a subungual melanoma," she explained in the TikTok. 

Dr. Z goes on to say that it's rare, but it can be easily missed. 

The cause of the cancer is not known, but it is different than other types of melanoma because it is not connected to sun exposure. 

Certain traits do put people at greater risk, including dark skin, a family history of melanoma, and if you're of a certain age - typically between 50 and 70 years old. 

This particular type of subungual melanoma mostly shows up on the big toe or thumb but it could appear on any nail. 

 "That's why it's so important to know about this, especially people who paint their nails a lot," Dr. Z said. "If you're not checking your nails in between manicures or pedicures you are potentially missing out on a sign that could save your life." 

She pointed out that not all dark streaks on nails are dangerous - however, if you notice you have one, she urges you not to wait, get in, and see a dermatologist ASAP because it can spread and potentially lead to death. 

So, trim those nails and keep an eye on them! 

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