Bug Bite, or Skin Cancer?
I’ve had skin cancer for so long that it’s become a way of life for me. Every day I catch myself doing a skin check for anything new or suspicious on my skin. Even after 23+ years with skin cancer, sometimes I don’t know right away if a new place is cancerous. Is it skin cancer or is it a bug bite? Could it be a basal cell carcinoma? Maybe a squamous cell? I don’t want to call my dermatologist each time I find something on my skin, but I also don’t want to delay treatment if something is skin cancer. What to do, then?
I’ve found that what works best with me is a short wait-and-see approach. If I see a new area that wasn’t there the day before, I try to not immediately stress about it. I’ve realized that 95% of the time, the area goes away within a few days to a week, which makes me believe it was either a bug bite or a reaction to something. I keep an eye on it each day (okay, multiple times each day), watching for changes.
When it doesn’t go away right away, though, I’m more inclined to want to call my dermatologist, but I still don’t call her after just one week. I’ve had a few suspicious areas that have taken a couple of weeks to disappear, never to be seen again. Once it’s been hanging around a few weeks, it’s probably time to make the call.
How do you tell the difference between skin cancer and a bug bite?
It’s not always easy. A painful patch on your skin could be a sign of skin cancer, but it could also be an insect bite. If it’s an itchy spot, it could be a sign of skin cancer, but it could also be an insect bite or an allergic reaction to something.
Have you taken our In America survey yet?