Calling all veterans
SKIN CANCER – ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR A GRATUITY?
Bill Tucker, the Almoner of Elgar Lodge 9254 and a retired Consultant Dermatologist writes:
Many of us in Masonry are of a mature age, and with that maturity comes an increased risk of Skin Cancers.
I should explain that in this context, Skin Cancer means : Basal Cell Carcinomas (Rodent Ulcers), Squamous Cell Carcinomas, and Melanomas- Cancerous Moles.
"These cancers are all of increasing prevalence, but vary from being locally destructive and disfiguring- Basal Cell Carcinomas, to the more dangerous Squamous cell Carcinomas, which have a potential to spread elsewhere, up to the very dangerous Melanomas- where early detection and surgery is the only cure.
"Those at risk are predominantly pale -skinned individuals who have had a lot of Sun exposure, although we must remember that even dark- skinned people can develop skin cancers.
I don’t propose here to go into what to watch out for, how to prevent them etc,., as I want to address this article to those in Masonry who have already been diagnosed.:-
At this point, many of my patients used to turn to me and say – ‘I didn’t serve anywhere hot’, or ‘I don’t want to take money from those poor guys blown up in the Middle East’.
Let me deal with those fears :
1. If you served, you almost certainly spent a lot of time outdoors, - doing sport, outdoor training, or even just living somewhere.Even if you were in a submarine – you still are entitled!
2. This is a different ‘pocket’ of HMG’s purse, - the same one you might apply to as a Deaf ex- Bombardier.
‘Is it worth bothering with?’ My patients who were successful got between £2500 and £6000. As one said : ‘ enough for a new boiler.’
How do I apply?
If you are reasonably IT/email savvy – go to the Veterans’ agency website :
WWW.GOV.UK/VETERANS-UKOr email : email@example.comOr telephone : 0808 1914 218
When you go onto the Website, there is a really helpful menu , but to enable you to navigate it more easily :
To make life even more easy for claimants in our Province, – the Veterans Welfare Centre for the Midlands is in Kidderminster – tel : 01562 825527
To assemble your claim, I suggest you first of all ask for a letter from your Consultant confirming that you have/had skin Cancer, the type you had/have, and how many. Plus what treatment you have undergone.
Alternatively , you can ask your GP for a letter, and perhaps a copy of the Consultants letter to him/her , and the pathology report.
Make a list of what Units you were in, and for how long, plus where you served.
This is probably a long time ago, but we now believe that sun exposure when we are young is MORE risky than when we are older, and that there is usually a 20-25 year (plus)delay before these things develop.
If your claim is processed, you will have a medical examination by an experienced Doctor. He/She will ask questions about your current and past lifestyle.
I don’t intend to ‘coach ‘ you, but I would suggest not emphasising the hours you spend outside on the Golf - Course, playing cricket, gardening etc.
Good luck with your application. Most GPs and indeed many Consultants are unaware of this facility.
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