‘Ninja’ diagnosed with skin cancer: ‘Still in a bit of shock’

FILE - Tyler "Ninja" Blevins looks on prior to playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 during the Doritos Bowl 2018 at TwitchCon 2018 in the San Jose Convention Center on Oct. 27, 2018 in San Jose, California. (Robert Reiners/Getty Images)

Tyler Blevins, who goes by Ninja on his Twitch streaming platform, has revealed he has skin cancer at just 32 years old. 

The Fortnite gamer announced his diagnosis to fans on his X, formerly known as Twitter, account on Tuesday, saying he was "still in a bit of shock." 

Blevins said a few weeks ago, he went to see a dermatologist to get an annual check up that his wife, Jess, had scheduled. 

A mole on the bottom of Blevins’ foot prompted doctors to remove it "just to be careful" and test results came back as positive for melanoma.  

Doctors believed they caught the cancer early, however, another dark spot near where the previous mole was removed was biopsied on Tuesday and Blevins said he was still waiting for results.  

"I’m grateful to have hope in finding this early, but please take this as a PSA to get skin checkups," Blevins wrote.  

Blevins is one of the most popular gamers on Twitch, according to multiple reports.  

He has 19 million followers on the gaming platform and got his start as a competitive gamer by playing "Halo 3," according to Variety.  

However, he became popular for professional gaming in 2017 during the early days of "Fortnite," and soon became a global celebrity while appearing on Twitch. 

What is melanoma? 

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer and while it only accounts for about 1% of skin cancers, it causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. 

Even though it is not as common, melanoma is particularly insidious because if it’s not caught early, it can spread to other parts of the body. 

There are several different types of melanoma cancers which include superficial spreading melanoma, nodular melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma and acral lentiginous melanoma, also known as acral melanoma. 

Superficial spreading melanoma makes up about 7 in 10 melanoma cases, according to ACS. 

These present as tumors that grow outward from the skin’s surface and sometimes look like dark spots or moles, but this isn’t always the case. 

Nodular melanoma accounts for 2 out of 10 melanoma cases and looks like a raised bump on the skin that is often brown or black but it can also be pink or red. 

Nodular melanoma typically grows in deeper layers of skin early and can often be more advanced once discovered than superficial spreading melanomas. 

Lentigo maligna melanoma usually occurs in older people, according to ACS, and it often starts out as an abnormally shaped tan or brown spot on areas that get a lot of sun exposure such as the faces, ears or arms. 

It usually grows slowly over time. 

Lastly is acral lentiginous melanoma (acral melanoma) and this type of cancer typically starts on areas of the body that get very little sun exposure such as the palms of the hands, bottoms of feet and under the nails. 

Acral melanoma has larger impacts on people with deeper skin tones. 

Other skin cancers

Outside of the melanoma skin cancer category, there are other types of skin cancers that can be diagnosed. 

Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers

Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are the most common types of skin cancers, according to ACS. 

They are the most common form of skin cancer in the United States and these types of skin cancers are much less likely to spread to other parts of the body. 

Some other types of less common and non-melanoma skin cancers include Merkel cell carcinoma, Kaposi sarcoma, cutaneous lymphoma, skin adnexal tumors and other various types of sarcomas, according to ACS. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.