Tyler Blevins
Pro gamer Ninja diagnosed with Melanoma Wikimedia Commons

Gamer Tyler Blevins, known by his online alias Ninja, revealed he has been diagnosed with early-stage melanoma skin cancer. He credits his annual skin check with allowing doctors to identify a suspicious mole.

The 32-year-old professional gamer wrote on Twitter: "Alright, I'm still in a bit of shock but want to keep you all updated. A few weeks ago I went in to a dermatologist for an annual skin/mole check that Jess proactively scheduled for me."

During the routine checkup, doctors noticed a mole on his foot that raised some concern. They decided to remove it as a precaution and for further analysis. Although the biopsy revealed early-stage melanoma, doctors are optimistic about the prognosis.

Ninja revealed that another concerning spot appeared near the original mole, which prompted a biopsy. Doctors also removed a wider area around the melanoma. They will examine this additional tissue to ensure clear, non-cancerous margins around the mole.

A reminder to check your skin

The YouTuber noted that early detection is vital, adding that he is fortunate to have caught this. He also reminded everyone to schedule regular skin checks. Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, arises from melanocytes - cells responsible for producing melanin, the pigment that colours our skin, according to the Mayo Clinic.

As part of a crucial preventive measure, dermatologists recommend regular skin checks. Any changes or new developments in moles could signal potential cancer. They caution that it is vital to be aware of warning signs like size or colour variations and itching or bleeding.

Unsurprisingly, Ninja received an outpouring of online support from fellow creators, friends and fans. Twitch streamer Madeyewlook shared his experience: "I had melanoma on my lower back a few years ago; it is SO scary to hear. Areas that don't get sun and have moles are spots to extra keep track of."

Madeyewlook noted that he just wanted it to be removed because it was in the middle of his back. "Hoping for the best. Lots of love to Jess for being proactive as well," gamer SypherPK said. E-sports commentator Jake Lucky added: "Glad you caught it early man, hoping for the best."

Ninja's diagnosis joins a recent trend among gaming creators. "Valorant" streamer Kydedae bravely shared her cancer diagnosis just a year ago. She recently announced completing chemotherapy in September.

Just before Kyedae's news, the "Minecraft" community mourned the loss of Technoblade, another popular creator, who died from sarcoma after a year-long fight. His fans and fellow players paid heartfelt tributes to his memory.

Last year, a Royal Marsden report revealed that melanoma is the fifth most prevalent type of cancer in the UK. Earlier this year, Rice University and Texas A&M University experts discovered a mechanism that can kill cancer cells.

Treating stage 0 melanoma

In its earliest stage (in situ), melanoma is confined to the top layer of skin, according to the American Cancer Society. Doctors typically remove the melanoma with a surrounding margin of healthy tissue through a simple surgery called wide excision.

The removed area is then examined under a microscope to ensure complete removal. A second wider excision might be necessary if any cancer cells are found at the edges.