Black Toenail - Two week pathway

Hi I have been referred to a specialist due to my big toenail going black. Originally I thought this was a bruise so applied gel paint over it for my holiday. Weeks later I can see the nail has grown through black. Having removed the polish and visiting the GP they have referred me on a 2 week pathway to rule out melanoma.  Does anyone know what will happen at my appointment? Will I need a biopsy and if so is that a painful procedure? I am extremely nervous and just have a bad feeling this may be something sinister. At the base by my cuticle the lines are a deeper black colour. 

  • Hello NP7474

    I'm sorry to hear that you're currently waiting for an appointment to rule out melanoma. It's understandable that you're feeling anxious. 

    The specialist may want to do a biopsy at your initial appointment but try not to worry as this isn't a painful procedure. 

    It may help to talk through your concerns and questions with one of our nurses. I know they will be happy to listen and offer any advice, information and support they can. If you'd like to talk with them they're available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 0808 800 4040. 

    I hope you have some news soon. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. 

    Best wishes, 
    Cancer Chat moderator 

  • Hi,

    The dermatologist will take a look & decide if it needs a biopsy. It's rarely doon on the day of that appointment but you would be called back as a day surgery patient. Sometimes they peel the nail back and take a scraping of the nail bed or they remove the whole nail and take a larger scraping of the nail bed. The tissue is then sent for biopsy and the results received a few weeks later.

    Subungual melanoma isn't common so hopefully your nail problem is caused by something else but it's good that you are getting it checked out. Good luck and please let us know how you get on,

    Angie (Stage 3 melanoma patient since 2009)

  • Offline in reply to AngieT

    Thank you for your reply I am out of my mind with worry as I feel like I have ignored this not realising you could get anything sinister in your nailbed. If you need a biopsy are you able to drive afterwards?

    thanks in advance 

  • Thank you I will give the nurses a call on Monday as I am really worried

  • Offline in reply to NP7474

    I personally wouldn't risk it. I've had moles removed from my foot and my shin & was told not to drive so it would be better if you got someone to pick you up. 

  • Offline in reply to AngieT

    Thank you …is it likely that the biopsy ( if needed) will not be done at my first appointment? 

  • Offline in reply to NP7474

    They rarely do them at the first appointment, especially if the removal is in an area that would affect the patient's mobility. Most patients are brought back on another day & it's done under a local anesthetic as a day patient.

  • Pretty similar 

    I had a smudge like bruise appear on my toenail around 5 weeks ago .. I've always had problems with that nail in terms of fungal so I went to the GP and they recommended me through to dermo which I see Wednesday. 

    I have no recollection of injury so not sure what it is, I did go on a lads holiday and had new shoes recently so may be any of these but we will see.

  • Offline in reply to AngieT

    I had my first appointment on Friday and they have said I need to go in and get my nail plate removed and they will do a biopsy. Just waiting for the appointment but really nervous . I live on my own so worried il not be able to walk on it for a day or so do you think they will give me crutches or something to assist me?

  • Offline in reply to NP7474

    They often provide crutches but I would contact them if your appointment letter doesn't make mention of this so you can arrange for them to be available.

    Good luck, hopefully you won't be waiting too long & it will all go well. Please let us know how you get on.