A Californian woman claims she got cancer after suffering a cut while getting a manicure.
Grace Garcia, 50, a mother-of-three from San Gabriel, near Los Angeles, was diagnosed with stage 1 squamous cell carcinoma — a common type of skin cancer — in April.
It had developed around a deep cut into the cuticle on her right ring finger made by a nail technician, which had become infected with human papillomavirus (HPV).
Doctors cut out the cancer through a surgical technique used to remove cancerous lesions from First Lady Jill Biden earlier this week.
Grace Garcia, 50, from near Los Angeles, says that she got cancer after a nail technician cut off a piece of her nail. She was eventually diagnosed with stage 1 squamous cell carcinoma
Ms Garcia — who has been getting her nails done for more than two decades — went to a new ‘fancy’-looking salon just before Thanksgiving in November 2021.
But during the treatment, the nail technician slipped.
‘She cut me, and the cut wasn’t just a regular cuticle cut’, Ms Garcia told Today. ‘That was one of the first times that happened to me.’
She put antibiotic ointment on the wound when she got home, but after a few days it had barely healed.
Ms Garcia returned to the salon to complain. ‘I was upset and I went back, and I told them that the lady cut me, and my finger is still bothering me,’ she said. ‘They said, “oh, we fired her [after] a lot of complaints”. That was it.’
The manicurist sliced deep into her cuticle on her right ring finger during the procedure, causing it to start bleeding. She went home and put antibiotic ointment on the cut, but a few days later it had not healed. When it eventually healed over it was still tender
The cut healed as days passed, but Ms Garcia quickly noticed a ‘bump’ that was a darker color to the rest of her skin and felt tender if it was hit against something.
She grew concerned and visited her primary care doctor in April 2022, who referred her to a dermatologist — but they told her just said to monitor it.
When the bump changed to look like an ‘open wound’, and a wart started to develop, she returned to the doctors, who ordered a biopsy.
It revealed she had stage 1 skin cancer — medically termed squamous cell carcinoma — and also an HPV infection in the wound.
HPV can cause cancers when infections linger on wounds over time, turning normal cells into cancerous ones, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It usually occurs during sexual activity. But what made Ms Garcia’s case unusual was that the HPV infection had emerged in the wound in her nail.
Dr Shari Lipner, a top dermatologist at Cornell University in New York City, added to DailyMail.com: ‘It’s generally genital warts that are responsible [for carrying HPV].
‘It would have to be a piece of equipment that came into contact with a genital wart and was not sterilized.’
The patient’s dermatologist Dr Teo Soleymani, from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Health, added: ‘Generally speaking, the strains that cause cancer from an HPV standpoint tend to be more sexually transmitted.
‘In Grace’s case, she had an injury, which became the portal of entry.
‘So that thick skin that we have on our hands and feet that acts as a natural barrier against infections and things like that. [But for Ms Garcia] that was no longer the case, and the virus was able to infect her skin.’
Ms Garcia was treated using Mohs surgery, a procedure that allows doctors to see 100 percent of the cancer and then remove it without damaging too much skin.
The cancer had not spread to other areas of the body.
Ms Garcia did not require further treatment, but now needs to visit her dermatologist regularly for check-ups.
Doctors suggest that HPV may have gotten into the wound if she was having a manicure with equipment that had not been sterilized beforehand.
There is no evidence at this time that the equipment used for her treatment was not sterilized.