Reddit possibly diagnoses a melanoma from a post about a backslap

Social media spots a worrying moleCandyflippr, a user on the enormously popular social content sharing site Reddit, didn't realise that he was about to possibly save a friend's life when he posted this picture in Reddit's sometimes hilarious, sometimes troubling WTF forum. The picture shows a hand-print on a fair-skinned male's back, after a particularly vicious backslap.

Then, things turned serious, as fellow Redditor Nanoo_1972 pointed out that just below the slap, there was what appeared to be a potential superficial spreading melanoma - a form of skin cancer that has good curability, if caught early.

The subject of the photograph is Australian, as evidenced by the distinctive "Bonds" brand underwear.

It reminds us here at the Health Safari of another story we heard about an ex-nurse who saved a toddler's life by diagnosing an eye cancer after seeing a Facebook pic of the toddler. The picture showed two-year old Grace Freeman with a single "red-eye" reflection, and with her other eye reflecting white instead of red. Red-eye is often absent in people who have an eye tumor.

The Reddit thing that happened today blew us away!

Because people are able to use social media to share pictures easily and widely, potentially lethal health conditions are more able to be at least tentatively identified and referred to a health professional for assessment. This can happen simply because a mate or family member recognises something risky from an online photo, and decides to let the subject know.

So at the Health Safari that's given us an idea...we'd like to start a campaign to encourage people who notice a potentially worrying mole on a friend or family member's Facebook pic, to reach out to that person and suggest that they pop in to see their doctor.

We're going to be designing the campaign pretty rapidly over the next few days/weeks, and then will be trying to get the message out there both in Australia and world-wide. And we would love for people to jump in and help out.

If you are a doctor, dermatologist, health communicator, campaign manager or even just seriously connected via your massive, adoring Twitter/Facebook/Google+ network, we invite you to get in touch with us and help out.

Get in touch with us through our email address [getintouch (at)], tweet to us on Twitter (@thehealthsafari), or send us a message via our contact form.

Post a comment


20:44, 4 September 2012 | Author : Geralyn

I never thought I would find such an everyday topic so enrthalling!

14:07, 29 May 2012 | Author : Andrew

That's cool - have you thought about getting people to nudge their mates in real life too?

3:47, 28 May 2012 | Author : DefinitelyNotBillMurray

Like the idea! 10/10, would diagnose skincancer again