21-year-old Karolina Jasko got the shock of her life after she developed the same cancer that took the life of Bob Marley.
The Beauty queen from Chicago first noticed a small black line on her thumb during a visit to the nail salon three years ago. However, she did not see a specialist until her thumb started to swell up and become inflamed from an infection.
Her doctor sent to get a biopsy and it was confirmed Karolina had nail melanoma, one of the rarest sub-types of skin cancer.
She told the Today show: “It was overwhelming because everything happened so quick. It was so scary.”
Doctors say similar cases of cancer are increasing and they blame it on the popularity of gel manicures that require exposure to harmful ultraviolet light.
These stylish manicures are also frequently modeled by celebrities.
Karolina also revealed she was previously a nail salon devotee. She said she got artificial gel and acrylic nails treated with ultraviolet light at least once a month for years.
“They still don’t know where the infection came from,” Karolina said.
“If I would have waited longer and not come in with that, it could have been possible the melanoma would have spread.”
Doctors warned the beauty queen that she might have to amputate her thumb but they managed to save it. They removed the entire nail bed and used a skin graft from her groin to cover the area.
Acral lentiginous melanoma is more aggressive than other types. It killed reggae legend Bob Marley after he noticed a dark spot under his toenail.
Dr. Vishal Patel, director of the cutaneous oncology program, said: “It’s like tanning beds for your hands. We’re seeing a lot of patients having not only melanomas, but all types of skin cancers around the fingertips and the cuticles.”
Doctors warn nail salon devotees to apply sunscreen on their hands before having UV-treated manicures.
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