Fan warns swimmer about dangerous mole on his chest
Famous people are often followed so closely on social media that it verges on the edge of obsession. Every photo posted online is analyzed down to the finest detail and usually followed by an avalanche of comments.
This aspect of public life involves a lot of flattering attention, but it also has a dark side. When fans get too caught up in their appreciation it can leave celebrities feeling like they're being followed and observed at every turn. But in the case of Mack Horton, a swimmer on the Australian Olympic team, a fan's obsessive devotion ended up saving his life.
In 2016 Mack was ecstatic when he won an Olympic gold medal in the 400 meter freestyle, but soon after he received a message from a fan that quickly put an end to his excitement. The fan obviously had an eye for detail and had noticed that a mole on Mack's chest had grown bigger since 2012.
His admirer advised him to see a dermatologist as quickly as possible. Mack took the advice seriously and had the mole examined.
— David Trender (@IceTrends) 22. Oktober 2016
In October Mack posted a picture of himself shirtless showing off his bandaged chest with this message:
"Shout out to the person that emailed the swim team doctor and told me to get my mole checked out. Good call. Very good call!"
The tiny mole had in fact grown and could have led to a very deadly form of skin cancer. If Mack had not been warned and had it checked at such an early stage, it could have easily developed into a life-threatening melanoma which is extremely difficult to treat once it has taken hold. Thankfully doctors were able to remove the mole before it became dangerous.
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Approximately 66% of the population will suffer from it during their lifetime and around 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer every year. The main cause is the high level of ultraviolet radiation on that continent.
Fortunately for Mack he has some very dedicated fans and at least one with a great eye for the smallest details. For the rest of us it's important to pay attention to the warning signs our bodies send us and to go to the doctor when something doesn't seem right. And a healthy dose of prevention can also help, so don't forget to stay out of the sun as much as possible and to use a strong sunblock when you do feel the need to catch some rays.