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February 26th, 2015

When the Doctor Says the “C” Word — Skin Cancer and Shooters

This is a message to my friends in the shooting community: be careful with your skin. I wasn’t careful enough and now I have skin cancers. When the Doctor says the “C” word, trust me, it’s a scary thing. That’s me in the photo below. The reason I have band-aids on my cheek and my chest is that I was just diagnosed with multiple basal cell carcinomas (the band-aids cover biopsy sites). These basal cell cancers can (and will) be surgically treated, but any skin cancer is worrisome. The worst kind of skin cancers, melanomas, can be fatal if not detected very early.

skin cancer basal cell carcinoma

An Ounce of Prevention — How to Protect Your Skin
Fellow shooters, my message to you is: Protect your skin… and see a dermatologist regularly. If you are over 40 and have spent a lot of time outdoors, I suggest you see a skin doctor every year.

As gun guys (and gals) we spend a lot of time outdoors, much of it in bright sunlight. When working and playing outdoors, you should always try to minimize the risk of skin damage and possible skin cancers. Here are some practical tips:

  • 1. Wear effective sunscreen. Get the kind that still works even if you sweat.
  • 2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and quality sunglasses with side protection.
  • 3. Protect your arms and neck. It’s smart to wear long-sleeve shirts with high collars. There are “breathable” fabrics that still offer good sun protection.
  • 4. Stay in the shade when you can. Direct sunlight is more damaging to your skin.
  • 5. When testing loads or practicing you can make your own shade with an umbrella fixed to a tripod or scope stand. This has the added benefit of keeping you (and your ammo) cool.
  • 6. Do a “field survey” of your skin every few weeks. Have your spouse or “significant other” inspect your back and the backside of your legs.

skin cancer basal cell carcinoma

What to Look For — How to Spot Possible Skin Cancers
Here is an illustration that shows various types of skin cancers. But understand that an early basal cell carcinoma can be much, more subtle — it may just look like a small, pale pink spot. Also, if you have a scab that flakes off and re-appears, that might be a cancer. In the case of the basal cell on my face, I initially thought it was just a shaving abrasion. The skin was just slightly pinkish, with a little scab that would form and come back. But after a couple months, it never got any better. That’s what prompted me to see the doctor. And I’m glad I did….

skin cancer basal cell carcinoma

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December 21st, 2013

Hornady Donates $38,009 to Cancer Charity

It’s nice to see a leading firearms industry company fund “good works” and help charitable organizations. Hornady Manufacturing recently donated $38,009 to GRACE Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their families. Founded in 1949, Hornady is a family-owned business in Grand Island, Nebraska. The donation came from proceeds of the sale of Hornady® Critical Defense® Lite™ ammunition from November 2012 to November 2013.

Hornady charity Grace Cancer Foundation

“We at Hornady Manufacturing wanted to play an active role in the fight against cancer,” said Renae Waltemath, Director of Sales. “By donating a portion of the proceeds of each box of Critical Defense Lite ammunition sold over a 12 month period, we can directly assist organizations devoted to that cause. Choosing GRACE Foundation to receive a donation was easy since they help so many people in the Grand Island area, some of whom may be Hornady employees or family members affected by cancer.” Lisa Willman, co-founder of GRACE Foundation, said the gift significantly expands the number of people the organization can serve. “To give you an idea of what this means,” Willman explained, “the GRACE Foundation gave out over $21,000 in assistance over the entire third quarter of 2013. So a gift of $38,009 from one source is a huge help.” The Hornady gift is the largest single donation the organization has ever received.

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