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Twitch’s biggest streamer Ninja announces ‘shock’ cancer diagnosis on social media

Twitch’s biggest streamer Ninja announces ‘shock’ cancer diagnosis on social media

Ninja, the biggest streamer on gaming platform Twitch, has been diagnosed with cancer.

The professional gamer, whose real name is Richard Tyler Blevins, posted an update on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday (26 March) evening. His ‘Ninja’ streaming chanel on Twitch is the largest across the platform with over 19m followers and Blevins’ YouTube channel has 23.9m subscribers.

The 32-year-old rose to fame streaming the battle royale game Fortnite in 2017 and gained media attention soon after in March 2018 while playing with rap stars Travis Scott and Drake. The stream broke records on Twitch with 650,000 concurrent viewers tuning in to watch.

Blevins said: “I’m still in a bit of shock... a few weeks ago I went in to a dermatologist for an annual skin/mole check that Jess [Blevins] 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”.

Melanoma is considered the most dangerous type of skin cancer, with roughly a quarter of cases developing from moles. The main cause of the growth is ultraviolet (UV) exposure.

The streamer added: “I had another dark spot appear near it, so today they biopsied that and removed a larger area around the melanoma with the hopes that under the microscope they will see clear non-melanoma edges and we will know we got it”.

The streamer known as ‘Ninja’ rose to fame by streaming on the Twitch platform, often attracting virtual crowds in the six digits (Getty Images)
The streamer known as ‘Ninja’ rose to fame by streaming on the Twitch platform, often attracting virtual crowds in the six digits (Getty Images)

Figures from the Melanoma Research Foundation state that almost 187,000 individuals were expected to be diagnosed with the cancer, with it being the fifth most common form of cancer for those aged 30-39.

Last year, analysis by Cancer Research UK revealed that melanoma cases have hit an all time high in the UK, with 17,500 cases diagnosed per year.

Blevin’s post has received 3.5m views on X and nearly 50,000 likes, with fans quick to send support.

Fellow streamer SypherPK said “Hoping for the best. Lots of love to Jess for being proactive as well” and NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III commented: “Praying for you brother”. Both well-wishes have received thousands of likes.

Blevins finished his post with a warning: “I’m grateful to have hope in finding this early, but please take this as a PSA [Public Service Announcement] to get skin checkups”.

Surgery is the usual form of treatment for melanoma according to the NHS website, although radiotherapy can be used to reduce the size of larger growths.