Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I see a doctor for a red skin bump that persists for over a month?"
I have a bump on my back that has been there for over a month. It started off skin-colored/pink and has gotten more red and occasionally hurts when something rubs against it hard. It does not look like a mole, but I am concerned that it could be related to skin cancer. Am I overreacting or should I see a doctor? A primary care doctor or a dermatologist?
Red bumps on your skin can appear for many reasons, and they will usually go away by themselves over time. In general, a good rule of thumb to follow with any bump or skin lesion is, if you are worried about it, you should see a doctor. The peace of mind is worth the trip, if nothing else. Given that you are not sure whether or not it is anything serious, your primary care doctor would be an excellent place to start. They see many things, and are able to determine very will when a specific issue needs to be addressed by a specialist, such as a dermatologist, and when it is safe to either observe or treat at a generalist level. Some things would raise your level of suspicion for cancer, such as if you have a family or personal history of skin cancer, or if you are chronically immunosuppressed. Either of these are associated with an increased incidence of skin cancer. Other factors can also be signs of something bad as well, and your primary care doctor will be very familiar with all of these. Additionally, he or she will be able to recommend close observation as well, as time is often the best tool for diagnosing many things.
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