When Jean Williams Taylor shared a photo of her odd fingernail shape, she wasn't expecting it to be the start of a health emergency.
As Kidspot reports, Taylor, a mom and grandmother from the U.K., posted a picture of her curved fingernail on Facebook and asked friends and family if they had ever seen anything like it. The response surprised her.
Taylor was urged to go to the doctor right away. And while she thought that reaction was “a bit extreme,” she complied.
As she wrote on Facebook:
I was rushed for blood tests and a chest x-ray, [two] days later I got a phone call to go for a CT scan, [two] days later a PET scan and more blood test, the day later a breathing test on my lungs and a scan on my heart, the day later an MRI scan then a lung biopsy.
After a grueling [two] weeks, yesterday I got my results ... cancer in both my lungs!
Taylor learned that her curving nail was actually a symptom of serious illness. She wrote:
When your nails curve its often linked to heart and lung disease and its official term is “clubbing.” I had no idea. Did You?
According to Cancer Research UK, clubbed fingers (also called digital clubbing) occurs in multiple stages. First, the nail base becomes softer and the nearby skin can become shiny. Then, the nails can be seen as abnormally curved when viewed from the side. Finally, the ends of the fingers grow larger (this is sometimes called “drumstick fingers.”)
Clubbed fingers are unusual, and are linked to mesothelioma and lung cancer. They occur in about 35 percent of those with non small cell lung cancer, but only 3 percent of those suffering from small cell lung cancer.
According to the National Institutes of Health, clubbed fingers are generally seen with diseases that cause chronic low blood oxygen levels. They are also associated with diseases tied to malabsorption, such as celiac and cystic fibrosis.
Though the underlying causes of clubbed fingers are not fully understood, sufferers are urged to see a doctor if they have the condition.
Taylor says that she hopes her own experience may help someone else who doesn't understand why their nails are curving strangely.
She wrote on Facebook: “Hope this post can help someone else in the early stages of cancer.”