Ninja: Fortnite Superstar recently diagnosed with Skin Cancer

In a sobering announcement, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, one of the biggest stars on Twitch and in gaming as a... Stalingrad | 21. April 2024

In a sobering announcement, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, one of the biggest stars on Twitch and in gaming as a whole, revealed that he has been diagnosed with a form of skin cancer called melanoma. The 32-year-old streamer, who rose to international fame through his Fortnite prowess, disclosed his health battle in a recent post on X (formerly Twitter).

The Skin Cancer Diagnosis

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“Alright, I’m still in a bit of shock but want to keep you all updated,” Ninja wrote. “A few weeks ago I went to a dermatologist for an annual skin/mole check that Jess proactively scheduled for me. There was a mole on the bottom of my foot that they wanted to remove just to be careful. It came back as melanoma, but they are optimistic that we caught it in the early stages.”

He went on to explain that a second dark spot had appeared near the initial melanoma site. Doctors proceeded to biopsy that area and remove a larger section around the original melanoma in hopes of confirming they had successfully extracted all the cancerous tissue.

“I’m grateful to have hope in finding this early, but please take this as a PSA to get skin checkups,” Ninja implored his millions of fans and followers.

The Rise of the Gaming Superstar

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For the gaming world at large and the burgeoning culture around streaming and esports, Ninja’s cancer reveal represents a major shock. This is a streamer who embodied gaming’s cultural zeitgeist during the Fortnite explosion of 2017 and 2018.

After starting out as a competitive Halo player, Ninja became a household name streaming the wildly popular Fortnite and showing off his prodigious talent in energetic, family-friendly videos. At his highest, he had over 200,000 paying subscribers and records for concurrent viewers that surpassed major sporting events and award show ratings.

Ninja was the new generation of gaming royalty – a streamer and prodigious player turned celebrity who would later appear on major talk shows such as Fallon and Ellen, alongside mainstream figures such as Drake and Travis Scott. His vibrant on-stream personality earned mainstream attention and endorsements in a way esports athletes rarely had before.

Ninja is still one of the most followed accounts on Twitch and YouTube at 32 years old, with a combined 43 million followers today. Still, the gaming star made headlines last year after leaving Twitch for better opportunities on platforms such as YouTube to better serve his massive fanbase.

About Melanoma

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As for the condition Ninja has been diagnosed with, melanoma is the most aggressive and potentially terminal type of skin cancer. Though it represents about one in five skin cancers, melanoma is responsible for most skin cancer deaths because of its fast metastasis if untreated.

The American Cancer Society thinks Ninja’s case is not typical for a 32-year-old since the typical age at which physicians diagnose melanoma is 66. However, cancer does have a higher prevalence among younger demographics, especially women.

Some of the major risk factors include excessive UV exposure, having many moles or abnormal moles, lighter skin pigmentation, and family history. Obesity, alcohol use, and lack of fruits/vegetables can also elevate overall cancer risk according to the World Health Organization.

Staying Positive and Spreading Awareness

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In their official statement to CNN, Ninja, and his wife Jessica expressed optimism about his prognosis now that the melanoma appears to have been caught early before spreading:  

“We are feeling extremely optimistic and will keep everyone posted as we chat more with our doctors…I wanted to use my platform to shine a light on the importance of routine skin checkups.”

For a high-profile figure like Ninja with a young audience of millions, that message about skin cancer awareness could prove pivotal. The best treatment is routine checkups and early detection to treat early-stage melanoma before it spreads.While everyone in the gaming world certainly hopes Ninja recovers quickly and fully, his openness brings a much-needed spotlight onto a health issue that is often overlooked. Skin cancer impacts people of all ages and demographics – even seemingly healthy gaming stars in the prime of their careers and lives. With luck, Ninja beating this will inspire more to get proactive with prevention.