Do You Know Nail Changes May Indicate Lung Cancer?

According to a report from TODAY, changes in fingernails can alert you to all sorts of health issues, including lung cancer, as a British woman recently found out when she became alarmed by her symptoms.

Jean Williams Taylor of Wigan, England, posted a photo of her curved fingernail — growing downward at a sharp angle instead of straight out from the nail bed — asking if anyone had seen anything similar. A number of people responded advising her to seek medical care.

“I was urged to go to the doctor. A tad extreme I thought,” she wrote in a follow-up post on Facebook on Tuesday.

Taylor was then rushed for blood tests and a chest X-ray, she noted. Two days later, she was directed to go for a CT scan, and then a PET scan and more blood tests. That led to a breathing test, a heart scan, an MRI and a lung biopsy.

“After a gruelling (sic) 2 weeks, yesterday I got my results…….Cancer in both my lungs !!!!” Taylor wrote, adding she had no idea curved fingernails could be a symptom of lung disease. “Hope this post can help someone else in the early stages of cancer.”

The nail condition, called clubbing of the fingers or toes, can indeed signal lung trouble, said Dr. Phoebe Rich, director of the Nail Disorders Clinic at Oregon Health and Science University.

“It is a pretty characteristic finding and a good diagnostic clue to look at the lungs,” Rich said. “It probably has something to do with oxygenation of the tips of the digits, although there’s really no literature that explains it with 100 percent certainty.”