(NEW YORK) — For years, Maria Sylvia ignored a straight, brown streak that had appeared on her right thumbnail.
The 25-year-old shared what it looked like in a TikTok video last month and wrote, “me: having this for 10 years, thinking it was a cool streak on my nail.”
In the next frame, she continued, “it’s cancer.”
Sylvia told Good Morning America totally asymptomatic, meaning that you feel no pain,” dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe told GMA. “You don’t want a lesion to become painful, start to bleed, or start to create any kind of deformity of the nail. That usually means that we’re catching it too late.”
In a follow-up video, Sylvia said she had seen doctors in the past and one had suggested her nail discoloration could be a mole.
Sylvia encouraged others who may be concerned to go see a doctor. “You really have to be your advocate here and say, ‘No, no, I’d really like to get a biopsy just to be sure,'” she told GMA.
Following her diagnosis, Sylvia said in another TikTok video that she found out the melanoma had not appeared to spread. She has since underwent surgery and a skin graft.
Since opening up on TikTok, Sylvia has heard from others who said her warning video has been eye-opening and helpful.
“I saw this TikTok a couple weeks ago and really thought nothing of it until I saw my mom’s toe and was really concerned. She got an appointment, and long story short, you saved my mom’s life. Thank you,” posted one TikTok user.
Bowe also encourages anyone who wears nail polish to remove it at least once a month and inspect the nails for any abnormalities like pigmentation or discoloration.
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