RIO – Australian Olympic gold medalist Mack Horton has paid tribute to a fan who spotted a suspicious mole on the swimmer’s chest and urged him to get it checked out.
In a post Friday on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, the 20-year-old swimmer wrote: “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 Instagram post included a picture of Horton, giving a thumbs up, with a bandage on his chest where the mole had been removed.
He didn’t give any more details about whether the mole had been tested or found to be malignant.
The Melanoma Institute Australia posted on Horton’s Facebook page, saying, “We’re glad to hear you had the mole checked out. Thanks for helping raise awareness about how important it is to get a skin check.”
A supporter also posted, saying: “So awesome for you to share this — it’s such a small thing to many people, but getting a check can save your life — it saved mine!”
Horton won gold in the 400-meter freestyle competition at the Rio Olympics in August. He sparked controversy when he labeled a rival Chinese swimmer a “drug cheat.”
High skin cancer rates
According to the Cancer Council Australia website, about two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.
Skin cancers account for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers in Australia, it says, with almost all of them caused by sun exposure.
The incidence of skin cancer is one of the highest in the world, two to three times the rates in Canada, the United States and Britain, the council said.