MOST of the time insect bites are harmless and heal up on their own.
But for one dad, being bit by an unknown bug back in October revealed he had been living with a silent killer.
Joe Beckwith had been nipped by the creature and when the bite didn't heal, his sister Leanne told him he should call 111.
The 34-year-old from Morley, Leeds, was told to go to hospital immediately, where doctors carried out blood tests.
He returned home and awaited his results, but just hours later he was called back to the hospital, where he was told he had the blood cancer leukaemia.
It's often dubbed a silent killer as symptoms can go unnoticed for a while as they can often be mistaken for tiredness or looking 'washed out', the NHS says.
In the UK there are around 9,900 cases of leukaemia each year, Cancer Research UK states.
Data shows that it contributes to three per cent of all cancer cases in the UK, with there being over 4,000 deaths from the condition each year.
Joe's sister Leanne said their whole 'world had come crashing down', following his diagnosis.
"It's been awful – I wouldn't wish it on anybody. If he hadn't gone in he wouldn't have a clue – he didn't have any other symptoms but some night sweats he'd brushed off.
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"He couldn't see his kids at Christmas – he hasn't been able to see one of them that lives in Liverpool since he was diagnosed. We were all ill over Christmas and because his immune system is so weak it was too dangerous for him to see them.
"It's been really tough and terrible to see. He's so strong and getting through it – it would mean the world to us just to be able to help him a little," she told LeedsLive.
The symptoms of leukaemia you need to know
The NHS states that symptoms usually happen over a few weeks and become worse over time.
Symptoms can include:
- looking pale or "washed out"
- feeling tired or weak
- frequent infections
- unusual and frequent bruising or bleeding, such as bleeding gums or nosebleeds
- losing weight without trying to
If you are worried about any of your symptoms you should see a GP.
In the event of an emergency, always call 999 or go to your nearest A&E department.
After being diagnosed with leukaemia, Joe started chemotherapy on October 27.
He's being treated at the Haematology department in the Bexley Wing at St James's Hospital.
In December, he was told he was in remission, but is still undergoing constant blood and platelet transfusions every day.
He is currently unable to work due to his treatment and his family have launched a GoFundMe page to help fund treatment at the Bexley Wing where Joe is receiving care.
The fundraising page read: "We have chosen to Fundraise to help out Joe Financially as Cancer unfortunately comes with a financial burden. This will help support him and his family through this difficult time.
"50 per cent of funds raised will go direct to Joe and 50 per cent will be going to The Department of Haematology at the Bexley Wing , St James hospital, Leeds where he is currently been treated.
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