Woman discovers her droopy fingernail was actually a symptom of lung cancer
Jean Taylor was finding it awkward to ask doctors about her nails but her daughter forced her to do so
Jean Williams Taylor never thought her nails looked great — they were long, droopy and curved around her fingertips. Little did she know that her "ugly" nails were actually a symptom of lung cancer. The 53-year-old from Wigan, England was shocked when — after a series of tests her doctor recommended she undergo — she was diagnosed with cancer in both her lungs.
It all began when Taylor shared a photo of her curved nail on Facebook asking people "if anyone had seen nails like these". It was probably meant to be a fun post but, on the contrary, she was urged to see a doctor.
Taylor felt ridiculous when she thought about going to a doctor and asking why her nails were curved around her fingertips. For the doctors, it wasn't a silly question. They immediately recognised the little-known symptom of lung cancer and sent her for a series of painful tests which confirmed their fears — Taylor had stage one cancer with two golf ball-sized tumors in both her lungs.
She wrote on the Wigan Today page: "I was rushed for blood tests and a chest xray, 2 days later i got a phone call to go for a CT scan, 2 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 gruelling 2 weeks, yesterday I got my results... Cancer in both my lungs!!!!"
Before her diagnosis, Taylor, who had always kept her fingernails short for work until starting an office job two months ago, just thought her newly-grown bending and swollen nails were hereditary, as her mother also had similar nails too.
Her mother lost half of her lung due to cancer, but Taylor had never thought her mum’s bending nails could also be a symptom of her disease, a report in the Manchester Evening News said.
It wasn’t until Taylor's daughter Stephanie, 31, researched the reason behind her strange curving nails that the fears of Taylor also having lung cancer started emerging.
"I didn’t want to go to the doctor over a curved nail, but I did it to put my daughter’s mind at rest," Taylor said. "She’s the Google queen, and when you Google it the first thing that comes up in big bold letters is cancer."
Stephanie realised it could be 'clubbed nail' – a rare sign of lung cancer – and urged her mum to see a doctor.
Even though initially Taylor felt everything was silly, she does admit that she never thought it would turn out to be cancer. "I felt ridiculous going to the doctor over a curved nail. I just thought I was wasting their time," she said. "I never in a million years thought it would be this. Never. I just said 'I feel stupid, but I’ve come about this' and I held my hand up."
“Once the diagnosis came out, I got a nail technician round to paint them chrome glitter. My daughter went ‘oh my god, they’re not ugly enough? You’re drawing attention to them’. I went, ‘Steph, they saved my life.’"
However, after the diagnosis, and with a 70 percent chance of survival, Taylor now credits her nails with saving her life.
"These nails are my lifesavers and I’m not cutting them off," she said. "I’d been working in a factory so my nails were really short. I got an office job about six weeks ago and they decided to grow. I’ve always had weak nails and I’ve never got them to this length because they were never strong and I was working in a factory."
Taylor further added that she is going to do anything and everything in her power in order to raise awareness about it. "They’re gonna grow, and if I have to put silver bells and fireworks on the end of them to raise awareness, I will," she said.
Taylor even shared her an awareness post on Facebook which has got many people educated about the nail is one of the signs of cancer. "I’ve got so many people sending me shares of their nails, but I’m no expert - I’ve only been diagnosed less than 48 hours," she said. "People out there are terrified now and saying "my mum had that and it was never picked up and she died of lung cancer. I feel sorry for these people. I want to help. But I’m not qualified to look at anyone’s nails."
She believes that it's 'really important' that nail technicians are trained in the future to look for clubbed nails on their clients. "They should know about it because if people are wearing acrylic nails the only time they’re going to have their nails seen is by a nail technician," she said. "I think it’s so important for them to know. It could definitely save their [customers’] lives. Whether the nails look ugly or not, they saved my life."