Thanks to the Nintendo Switch, a man was able to detect a tumor in his hand.
Chris is a 28-year old programmer living in Sydney, Australia. He was planning on getting a Switch as soon as it was announced: He’s owned every Nintendo console since the Wii, and seeing footage of Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart really sold him. But when he got his Switch last March, he found that whenever he played Mario Kart, he’d feel severe pain in his hand. “As soon as I played Mario Kart I started getting a shooting pain from my right palm to the first joint in my index finger when the controller vibrated, especially when collecting coins,” he recently wrote on Reddit.
The Switch’s Joy-Con controllers have what Nintendo calls HD Rumble, a more sensitive form of feedback unique to the Switch. Most Switch games don’t make much use of this feature, but Chris said that when you pick up a coin in Mario Kart, the Joy-Con vibrates in a very short, powerful burst. He noticed that he felt a lot of pain in his hand in these moments.
At first, Chris wrote off the pain. “I’m a programmer, and it was a pretty busy time at work, so I just put it down to [a repetitive stress injury] or something similar,” Chris told Kotaku over email. “I thought maybe it’d go after a few quieter days.” He said that he didn’t even talk about it to his friends and family, except for his wife, who heard him complain of the pain when they played Mario Kart together. Over time, he just stopped playing the Switch entirely because it hurt. “I would’ve definitely used it as an excuse if I had been losing races against friends, but I’m currently unbeaten, so no one really knew about it,” he said.
But the pain didn’t go away, and because this was only happening with the Switch, he got suspicious. Chris also uses an XBox One controller to play PC games, which wasn’t causing him problems at all. “After a few weeks with the pain still there, and a small bruise-like mark showing on my palm,” he said, “I definitely knew something was wrong, but the doctors told me to just keep an eye on it, especially when they found out that I use my hands a lot at work.”
Six months later, Chris had a small lump sticking out from his hand, and says that “everything I do with the hand hurts.” Doctors discovered that it was a tumor, and that it has only a 5% chance of being cancer. “According to the UltraSound and a MRI they’re thinking it might either be a vascular malformation or a giant cell tumor,” he wrote on Reddit, “they won’t know until they take it out.” He’s due for surgery to have it removed on Monday.
Chris says the he credits the Switch with detecting the tumor so early. “I definitely believe that if it hadn’t been for the Switch I wouldn’t have gone to the doctors until the mark started to raise from my palm months later,” he said.