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Mole below nail, doctor suggests biopsy. Worried about melanoma

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 2272 Questions
I have a brown/gray vertical 'stripe' beneath my right thumbnail, about 1/4" wide. It's been there for about 3 or 4 years and hasn't changed in size or coloration at all. After several years of having this and realizing that this wasn't growing out with the nail, I showed it to my doctor who told me that it's a mole under the nail and that I shouldn't worry as long as there's no change it in. But since the discoloration is on the nail, that's not consistent w/ the doctor's explanation that it's a mole under the nail and not something on the nail itself. The more I research this the more information I see suggesting that it could be a deadly melanoma (but after several years I'm still very much alive and don't have any health issues that I'm aware of). The doctor said I could have a biopsy on it, but said it wasn't nececessary since he's sure it's just a mole. And I certainly don't want to undergo a painful and potentially disfiguring biopsy if, in fact, it's just an ugly mole. But it is ugly and I'd rather not live with this for the rest of my life if there is anything I can possibly do to get rid of it. I'm looking to (1) get conclusive information that it's nothing serious and (2) find out possible methods for getting rid of it. Thank you so much for your help!
Posted Sat, 28 Jul 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Ram Choudhary 58 minutes later
This is abnormal pigmentation/mole in the nail plate.
It is nothing serious and your physician wins on that front sraight forward.
I really doubt if you have any options less than a surgical removal to get rid of it.
you can try antifungal cream miconazole/clotrimazole + steroid OTC locally for about two months, it helps some patients but can't predict the success in your case.
Optionally you can use a nice nail-polish and convert it into a ravishing looking nail.
I hope that answers you query.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Mole below nail, doctor suggests biopsy. Worried about melanoma 9 hours later
Thank you. So if it's an abnormal pigmentation/mole, what could have caused it? If it is possible that a fungus or bacteria caused it, does that mean that the fungus or bacteria is still there and if so, wouldn't removing the fungus or bacteria possibly remove the pigmentaiton or mole? If it's not a fungus or bacteria, what could it have been? I guess I'm just wondering why it can't be reversed by undoing, healing or removing whatever caused it in the first place?
Answered by Dr. Ram Choudhary 1 hour later
I fully agree with your proposition that reversing the primary event should reverse the things to normalcy.
The world is a misfit place for that Utopian hopes, reason being we suffer so many injuries, unknown exposures to harmful substances during our day to day life. Can we recall every bit of it, No!
We retain only about 1% of what we see around, the so-called important things that our brain thinks is important for us is retained rest is discarded!
So obviously impossible to recall what started your nail issue,
In the attached photo I can see a bit roughness, whitish tinge mixed in it that makes be believe a fungus must have started this pigmentation and eradicating it may help.
You can get a dermatologist review if still in doubt.
I hope that clears your doubts.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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