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Tyler Blevins, Video Gaming Star, Reveals Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Ninja, Video Gaming Star on Twitch, Reveals Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Tyler Blevins, the video game superstar known as Ninja, revealed this week that he had been diagnosed with melanoma, a form of skin cancer.

Mr. Blevins, 32, said on social media on Tuesday that a mole was removed from his foot during an annual checkup with a dermatologist a few weeks ago.

“It came back as melanoma, but they are optimistic that we caught it in the early stages,” he said.

In the post, Mr. Blevins said a second dark spot was found on his foot that had also been removed and was being checked, “with the hopes that under the microscope they will see clear non-melanoma edges and we will know we got it.”

His huge online following led to a crossover appearance in 2019, in disguise as a character called the “Ice Cream,” on the Fox competition show “The Masked Singer.” In 2018, he played Fortnite with Ellen DeGeneres on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Skin cancer is common, and often survivable. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas, which are the most common types of skin cancer, can cause disfigurement but are rarely fatal.

Melanoma accounts for just about 1 percent of all diagnosed skin cancers, but causes a vast majority of skin cancer deaths. The American Cancer Society estimated that doctors would diagnose about 100,640 new melanomas — about 59,170 in men and 41,470 in women — in the United States this year, and that about 8,290 people would die as a result.

The risk increases with age, and lighter skin color is also a major risk factor for melanoma. Early detection can lead to effective treatment.

The average age of those receiving a diagnosis is 66. But melanoma is among the most common cancers in young adults, especially young women, between the ages of 20 and 39, according to the American Cancer Society.

William Dahut, the American Cancer Society’s chief scientific officer, said on Wednesday that a melanoma found on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet or beneath the fingernails “is a rare type.” He suggested that people use sunscreen and frequently check their skin, and consult a dermatologist if anything suspicious is found.

“It’s good to have a partner to look over your back and the soles of your feet in a well-lit room, or with a hand light,” he said.

Mr. Blevins said he would use his diagnosis to raise awareness about skin cancer.

“I’m grateful to have hope in finding this early,” he said in his post, “but please take this as a PSA to get skin checkups.”

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