Oesophageal Patients Association
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Some years ago I noticed a faint black line on my little finger, gradually this progressed to a much darker line which became broader,I asked my GP what he thought it could be, he just said that the nail bed was probably damaged and it would heal in time, I couldn't clip the nail normally as it hurt, it would not clear up but stayed like that for a couple of years until, eventually I had an endoscopy resulting in an esophagectomy operation after a course of chemo, for a cancer in the gullet, very soon after the operation a year ago the black line started to disappear and the finger is back to normal, after some research it it appears that the nails are a very good indicator of health, and black lines in the nail can indicate cancer, I often wonder whether this was a very early warning sign, as I had always had a hiatus hernia from a very early age. and just wished that the doctor had taken a little more interest.

6 Replies

How interesting! I wonder if anybody else has experienced anything similar?

A hiatus hernia will tend to allow stomach acid to splash up into the oesophagus, and having a hiatus hernia can be significant factor



Hi New Begining.

It's strange I'm just the opposite. my nail's went a bit wierd after my op and chemo. My finger nails now have vertical ridges and lines on them and my big toe nail started growing in thickness rather than length. I had to have it removed in the end. funny thing is it's grown back exactly the same. Who knows??

Kind Regards



Hi Steve

I also had the same with my nails my toenails grew very thick and my finger nails were affected by the chemo, it was the black line in my little finger which appeared two years before diagnosis which I felt could have been an indicator that things were not quite normal with my health.




Hi New Beginning,

After my first three cycles of chemo, before my Ivor Lewis, my finger nails developed a series of white lines across them and a distinct indentation where the lines were. As these have grown out the distortion has become more apparent and the affected part keeps breaking easily.

My last three cycles of chemo do not at present!! Seem to have distorted my nails.




Hi Phil

My nails had some distortion like yours but have now grown the distortion out, the chemo has a lot of effect on hair and nails in the body, but luckily I had no bad side effects from the chemo except hair loss and nail distortion



I was concerned about the same thing except my toe nails some are black and won't grow healthy at all I really hope it's not serious going to the doctors Monday I'm so nervous


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