Regular nail biting can cause cancerous tumors

Rare cancer: finger amputation after nail biting

To get rid of the fingernail, biting is recommended not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for health reasons. This is particularly evident in a case from Australia. Fingernail caught a rare cancer with a young woman. She had to let her finger amputate.

Chewing fingernails can be dangerous

Fingernail chewing is common. It is estimated that 40 percent of children and about 10 percent of adults munch on their nails. Often stress is the reason that the fingers automatically stray to the mouth and nibble on them. Sometimes, however, they are also trivial causes, such as boredom. The results of nail biting not only look ugly, but can also have serious health consequences. This also had to be experienced by a young woman from Great Britain who lives in Australia. With her nail biting caused a rare form of cancer.

Fingernägelkauen can have fatal consequences. This had to be experienced by a woman in Australia who caused a rare cancer. (Image: toa555 /

Rare cancer

According to media reports, Courtney Whithorn's thumb had to be amputated after suffering a rare cancer.

The cause of skin cancer was probably her habit to chew on the nails, writes the British newspaper "The Sun".

It all started with the fact that the almost 20-year-old was bullied at school.

Patient was bullied at school

According to the "Sun", bullying at school made Courtney Whithorn's nail worse and in 2014 she completely broke her thumbnail.

Although the young woman quickly realized that part of her thumb was turning black, she kept it secret for her family and friends for about four years.

"My hand was always a fist because I did not want anyone to see it – not even my parents," the psychology student tells the newspaper.

"I can not explain how inhibited I was, I always had false nails to hide it because it was so black." She eventually sought medical advice.

Malignant melanoma diagnosed

"I went to my doctor because my skin turned black, but I went for cosmetic reasons and he referred me to a plastic surgeon," said Courtney Whithorn, originally from the UK, nine years ago to Gold Coast, Australia. moved.

"I was with two plastic surgeons who were considering removing my nail bed to remove the black part and then transferring a skin transplant so that it had at least the same skin color – I was happy with that," says the young woman.

"But before my first operation to remove the nail bed, the doctors could determine that something was wrong and opted for a biopsy."

Six weeks later, the patient was sent to a specialist in Sydney because the doctors could not clearly see whether the biopsy was cancer or not.

There it could be established that a rare form of skin cancer, a so-called akrolentiginöses melanoma, had developed in the young woman.

"They did more testing and when those results came back I was told it was a malignant melanoma that was very rare, especially for someone of my age and height," said the 20-year-old.

Finger had to be amputated

Although no cancer cells were found to remove the nail bed from the thumb after the next operation, she learned only a few days later that the specialists in Sydney recommended amputation for their melanoma.

In another procedure where other malignant cells were removed, a surgeon confirmed the need for amputation.

"I also had two lymph nodes removed to test whether the cancer had spread or not," said Courtney Whithorn. But that was clearly not the case.

Her thumb was amputated a few days ago. Now the student is waiting for the results of new tissue samples. Even if it is classified as "cancer free", it must be checked for another five years to prevent the disease from returning.

"There is not enough research to say what the chance of survival is or how likely it is that it comes back because – we just do not know much about it," says the patient.

Patient warns about the consequences of bullying

Courtney Whithorn now turns to the public to save other people from similar experiences.

"I want to share my story with people who are being bullied and bullying people," said Courtney Whithorn, who said that biting her nails became worse when she was bullied at school.

"I hope it stops them from doing what they do or gives someone the courage to talk and get help or tell their parents what happened at school," said the young woman.

"I wish I was as confident and open as I am now." (Ad)