‘Sponge-like’ fingernails could indicate deadly cancer – ‘Seek medical help’

Lung cancer: Signs and symptoms to look out for

Lung cancer is the most deadly type of cancer in the UK, causing almost 35,000 deaths a year.

It is also the third most commonly diagnosed cancer, accounting for 13 percent of all new cases in the UK annually.

As with any form of the disease, the sooner you can spot the symptoms the better chance of survival you have.

While many of the symptoms might seem obvious – such as breathlessness and a persistent cough – others are less so.

Dr Andre Brittain-Dissont, from Dr Andre Extensa Clinic, spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about a “rare” sign that can appear on your fingers.

READ MORE Spotting a cancer cough as we head into autumn – doctor’s advice

He warned that “finger clubbing” can indicate the disease.

As well as becoming thicker, wider and curved, the nails can also become “sponge-like”.

He said: “Finger clubbing where the fingernails become thicker, wider and sponge-like is a rare sign that can indicate lung cancer.

“Although it’s not clear what causes finger clubbing, it is always best to seek medical attention if you notice a change in the shape of your fingers and fingernails.”

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The Cleveland Clinic also lists nail-clubbing, on both fingers and toes, as a symptom of lung cancer.

To determine whether your fingernails are affected they can:

  • Feel soft and sponge-like
  • Feel warm to the touch
  • Form a rounded, bulging shape, giving the appearance of an upside-down spoon
  • Look red
  • Widen and wrap around the sides of your fingertips.

It explains: “Nail clubbing can affect a few of your nails or all of them.

“Often, it starts in your thumb and forefinger (pointer finger) before spreading to other nails.”

The clinic says that nail-clubbing can be difficult to spot in its early stages.

However, it urges you to look for two unusual phenomena.

“Floating nail: The root of your nail becomes separated from the bone. When you press on the nail plate, it moves slightly,” the clinic says.

“The base of your nail may feel springy or like it’s floating on a soft cushion.

“Lovibond angle sign: When you view your fingernail from the side, it should have a slight dent at the base.

“This dent, known as the Lovibond angle, makes a slight upward curve as your nail grows toward your fingertip.

“In the early stages of nail clubbing, your nail and nail bed look flat from the side.”

More common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A cough that does not go away after three weeks
  • A long-standing cough that gets worse
  • Chest infections that keep coming back
  • Coughing up blood
  • An ache or pain when breathing or coughing
  • Persistent breathlessness
  • Persistent tiredness or lack of energy
  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss.

If you experience any symptoms of lung cancer you should speak to your GP.

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