A Woman Got Cancer From Biting Her Nails & Had To Have Her Thumb Amputated

Nail biting is a bad habit that is hard to break. People bite their nails to cope with stress, anxiety and many other things. For Australian student Courtney Whithorn, nail biting was a habit she formed in 2014 when she was being bullied.

Biting her nails became a habit and a way to cope with stress for the 20-year-old. Whithorn developed a rare form of skin cancer on her thumb caused by biting her nail and she had to get her thumb amputated to above her knuckle.

In her Facebook post, Whithorn explains that she was diagnosed with acral lentiginous subungual melanomas a “rare kind of skin cancer, which makes up less than 2% of all melanoma diagnoses,” she wrote.

Whithorn went on to explain that she was diagnosed with this rare cancer on July 24. The cancer wasn’t caused by sun damage like most skin cancer, it’s caused by damage. She said that she had “trauma to her nail bed” that caused the cancer.

“During my last year of school in 2014, I was bullied to the point where even the thought of going to school gave me anxiety, so much so that biting my nails became a coping mechanism,” Whithorn wrote. “Due to the stress and anxiety, I didn’t even realize that I had totally bitten my entire thumb nail off until I saw blood on my hand.”

Whithorn said she had four surgeries which eventually ended with her thumb being amputated above her knuckle. “What some people thought was some meaningless teasing and pushing around, has ultimately led to my cancer diagnosis,” she wrote.

The Sun published photos of her thumb, head with caution they aren’t for the faint of heart. “I went to the doctors because my skin started turning black but I went for cosmetic reasons and [general practitioner] referred me to a plastic surgeon,” she told the paper.

The original plan was to remove her infected nail bed and put a skin graft over the black skin. But one surgeon decided to do a biopsy, which led to her diagnosis.

She’s not all clear from cancer, yet, but hopefully, she will be soon.

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