A woman who developed cancer beneath her nail says doctors told her it could have been caused by her manicure.
Mum-of-three Grace Garcia, from Los Angeles, popped out for a last-minute manicure ahead of Thanksgiving in 2021.
As her usual salon was fully booked, she ventured to a new one - and it was not a pleasant experience.
Speaking to Fox 11, the fifty-year-old said: "It was a new salon. I did not want to go to my original place because they were booked. The tech was aggressive with my cuticle...it hurt a lot. It looked like a blister.”
But the small cut, on Grace’s right ring finger, wouldn’t heal and when it was still there three months later she decided to pay a visit to her GP.
Grace’s doctor then referred her to a dermatologist who took a biopsy from her finger and was immediately told to return to the clinic.
"On my way to the car he called me,” she told the outlet. “That scared me. He said need to come back."
Grace was diagnosed with stage 1 squamous cell carcinoma - a type of skin cancer - which had developed around the cut on her cuticle, which had become infected with human papillomavirus (HPV).
After receiving her diagnosis, Grace went to UCLA health to see specialist Dr Teo Soleymani, who she credits with saving her life.
Dr Soleymani told Fox 11 that Grace’s manicure may have triggered the cancer.
He explained: "She had squamous cell carcinoma. Hers was caused by high-risk HPV.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HPV can cause cancer when infections are present in wounds for a long period of time.
Thankfully, doctors were able to cut out Grace’s cancer and she’s now recovering well.
The doctor says it’s not clear how many cancers found on fingers and nails are caused by HPV but reveals he has seen an increase.
He added: "Interestingly almost every single skin cancer I’ve dealt with that involved fingers or nails have been associated with high-risk HPV. That is alarming - and it’s in younger patients.”
However, he says he’s only seen a handful of cases that appear to have been triggered by a manicure, such as Grace’s.
"Rarely do we see high-risk squamous cell carcinoma arising from this but I have had half dozen with this phenomenon," he told Fox.
Meanwhile, Grace is in disbelief that something ‘as simple as a manicure’ could have killed her.