Back to Top
  • Two weeks ago, Williams shared a photo of her oddly curved fingernail on Facebook.

    To her surprise, friends who saw the photo and Googled her ailment started urging her to go to the doctor right away. "A tad extreme, I thought," Williams wrote in a recent update.

    But it turns out it being seriously worried wasn't extreme at all. Williams took their advice and saw a doctor. She learned that her bent nail was much more serious than she ever imagined.

    "I was rushed for blood tests and a chest X-ray. Two days later I got a phone call to go for a CT scan, two days later a PET scan and more blood tests, [a] day later a breathing test on my lungs and a scan on my heart, [a] day later an MRI scan then a lung biopsy," she explained. "After a grueling two weeks, yesterday I got my results.......Cancer in both my lungs!!!"

  • Advertisement
  • It turns out that curved nails are often a sign of heart and/or lung problems, which many people corroborated in the comments on Williams's post.

    causes of curved fingernails comment

    According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many different fingernail changes that can signal problems in the body. Curved or "clubbed" nails like Williams's do signal lung cancer, but they can also be a sign of things like heart disease, Crohn's disease, and even AIDS. There's also pitting in the nails, which can signal connective tissue disorders; Beau's lines, which are horizontal ridges across the nail that can signal vascular disease or diabetes; and yellowing nails, which can signal respiratory disease.

  • People often confuse clubbed nails with curved nails, which are not typically a sign of illness.

    One person in the comments on Williams's post shared this diagram to help people tell the difference. As the National Institutes of Health points out, a clubbed nail looks like the round part of an upside down spoon, and the end of the finger may appear to bulge slightly.

    Of course, not every nail issue indicates a chronic illness. But if you notice distinct changes in the shape, color, or texture of your fingernails or toenails, it's a good idea to go and get it checked out.

  • Williams wrote that she shared her ordeal online in the hopes that it would raise awareness, and that's exactly what it's doing.

    clubbed nails viral post

    People are inspecting their own nails and some who've otherwise brushed off nail changes as minor issues are commenting to let Williams know that her post has inspired them to get checked out. 

    "I have realized lately that one of my nails has been doing that. I just thought I must of been deficient in something and have been cutting my nails really short so it's not noticeable. Might have to go see the doctor. Thank you so much for posting this," one woman wrote.

  • Before her diagnosis, Williams had "no idea" fingernails could signal so many serious illnesses, and neither did many others.

    clubbed nail photo comment

    "[I] hope this post can help someone else in the early stages of cancer," she wrote.

    Posting a photo of your fingernail online might seem like a small or meaningless gesture to some, but in this case it truly could be the thing that saves someone else's life.