It was the manicure from hell.
When Grace Garcia decided to get a manicure in 2021, the mum-of-three had no idea the result would be a diagnosis of cancer.
The San Gabriel, Calif., resident attempted to book an appointment at her usual salon in November 2021, but when everything was booked, she decided to try another one.
At the new location she visited near her place of work, the technician got “aggressive” when dealing with the cuticle of her right ring finger.
Garcia said her finger looked “raw” after the manicure, reminding FOX 11 that it “hurts a lot.”
“It felt like a blister,” the 50-year-old said, noting that he wouldn’t heal.
“She probably used the tool on a previous person. I have no idea,” she told Today.com. “It sprouted whatever thing I had in my hand. .. It appeared. It looked like a wart, and I was like, ‘What the hell is that?’ “
Three months after the manicure, the blister-like sore near her fingernail was not improving. She then went to the doctor who sent her to a dermatologist for a finger biopsy.
“I knew it wasn’t good,” she said.
Almost immediately, she received a disturbing phone call from her dermatologist.
“Walking towards the car, he called me. It scared me,” she admitted. “He said I had to come back.”
Garcia then went to UCLA health to see a specialist, Dr Teo Soleymani, who said she had squamous cell carcinoma – a high-risk type of skin cancer caused by HPV. (human papillomavirus infection), possibly triggered by her manicure.
He told the publication that he had only seen a handful caused by manicures.
“We rarely see a high-risk squamous cell carcinoma resulting from this, but I’ve had half a dozen with this phenomenon,” he explained.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, workers should “clean and disinfect tools after each client according to your state’s cosmetology board policies.”
Garcia was officially diagnosed with stage 1 cancer, but luckily she saw Dr. Soleymani soon enough.
“Your results are entirely dictated by how quickly you catch them, and very often they are completely curable,” he told Today. “Her perseverance, not only was she able to get a great result, but she probably saved herself from having her finger amputated.”
Luckily, Garcia didn’t need radiation or “additional treatment” thanks to his quick action.
“Any time you have a growth that doesn’t go away in about four weeks, that’s kind of our signal,” Soleymani said. “You should see your dermatologist.”
“I fought from day one,” Garcia said, “because I knew something was wrong.”