Ninja Discloses Early-Stage Skin Cancer Diagnosis: ‘A Bit Shocked but Hopeful’

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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Ninja, Top Twitch Streamer, Reveals Skin Cancer Diagnosis

Ninja, the top Twitch streamer globally, has shared his skin cancer diagnosis with his followers.

“I’m still kind of reeling from this, but I want to keep everyone in the loop. A few weeks back, I went to a dermatologist for a routine skin and mole check-up that Jess had set up for me. They found a mole on the bottom of my foot that they decided to remove as a precaution. The test results showed it was melanoma, but thankfully, they believe we caught it early,” shared Ninja, real name Tyler Blevins, on X (previously known as Twitter).

Source: Twitter/Ninja 

He added, “Recently, another suspicious spot showed up near the first one, so they took a biopsy of that today and also removed a bigger section around the first melanoma, hoping that when they look at it under a microscope, they’ll find clean, melanoma-free edges, indicating we’ve removed it all. I’m holding on to the hope that catching this early makes a difference, but let this serve as a reminder for everyone to get their skin checked.”

The 32-year-old gaming icon kicked off his career in 2009 as a “Halo 3” competitive player, but his rise to stardom came with the “Fortnite” craze in 2017. Ninja quickly became a household name, known for streaming “Fortnite” alongside stars like Drake, Travis Scott, and JuJu Smith Schuster on Twitch. He's also made appearances on popular talk shows such as “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Daily Show,” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Ninja boasts nearly 24 million subscribers on YouTube and holds the title as the most-followed person on Twitch, with 19 million followers.

What Are the Types of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells (most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds) triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. The types of skin cancer are generally categorized by the type of cells they originate from. Here are the main types:

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common type of skin cancer. It arises from the basal cells, which are found at the bottom of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin). BCCs often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars and are usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense, occasional sun exposure. While BCCs can be locally destructive if not treated, they generally do not spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): SCC originates from squamous cells, which make up most of the epidermis. This type of cancer is more likely to invade deeper layers of the skin and spread to other parts of the body than BCC, making it potentially more dangerous. SCCs may appear as scaly red patches, open sores, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts; they may crust or bleed. Cumulative sun exposure is a significant risk factor, along with episodic, intense sun exposure.

3. Melanoma: Melanoma begins in the melanocytes, cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. Melanoma can be more dangerous than the other forms of skin cancer because it is more likely to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body if not caught early. Melanomas can vary greatly in the way they look; they often present as a new mole or a change in an existing mole, following the ABCDE rule (Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color that is not uniform, Diameter greater than 6mm, and Evolving size, shape or color).

4. Merkel Cell Carcinoma: This is a rare, aggressive skin cancer that appears as a painless, flesh-colored or bluish-red nodule on your face, head, or neck. Merkel cell carcinoma is thought to develop from Merkel cells at or near the base of the epidermis. It grows rapidly and often spreads to other parts of the body.

5. Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma: This is a rare form of cancer that originates from T cells (a type of lymphocyte, which is part of the immune system) in the skin. The most common type of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is mycosis fungoides. It often manifests as red, scaly patches or thick plaques of skin that might be itchy and can mimic eczema or psoriasis.

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