Finger clubbing: a simple fingernail test to detect lung cancer

Last update: June 2022


Lung cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer because early symptoms are vague and go relatively unnoticed. The disease is usually only diagnosed at an advanced stage. However, a simple test allows you to find out for yourself if something is wrong.

The first symptoms of lung cancer

The first symptoms of lung cancer can be multiple: hoarseness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, hypertension, weight loss, myasthenia gravis, fatigue and persistent cough, but also drumstick fingers. What is it about ? The last phalanx of the fingers is swollen and the nails bulge, following a lack of oxygenation. Clubbing can also be a symptom of other serious conditions such as heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, and liver disease.

See also the article: Cancer: the warning symptoms

The clubbing test

The Schamroth test is very simple. You can perform it yourself to check if you have drumstick fingers. Place your index fingers in a hook (as if you were forming a heart with your fingers) then place their nails against each other. Normally, you will see a tiny diamond-shaped break at the cuticles. If not, you probably have drumstick nails.

Warning: just because you can’t see a space between your fingernails doesn’t mean you’re sick. You may very well have been born with fingers of this shape. In any case, contacting your doctor and having a check-up can’t hurt.

See also the article: What do your nails say about your health?

You can see an example in the video below.


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