Breast Cancer Survivability for Men and Women

13 01 2021

While breast cancer is predominately a woman’s disease – men also get it. The 5 to 10 year survival rate after breast cancer diagnosis for both men and women is ~90% to 80%.

While serving in the active duty Air Force during the mid-80s, I was shocked and surprised when my good friend Walter at the ripe old age of 19 years old was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and went through life changing surgery. The procedure at the time was very invasive… the cancer was found on both side of his chest. The surgery appeared to be a success – whereas all cancerous breast tumors had been removed… It appeared they had removed the cancer before it had a chance to metastasize (spread throughout the body).

I certainly had no ideal men were susceptible to breast cancer. Although rare, it does occur. To this date, I’ve wondered if he survived the ordeal by being cancer free – for life.

The following data should provide some relief in knowing breast cancer prognosis for both men and women is very survivable – when treated in a timely manner.

"The American Cancer Society estimates for breast cancer in men in the United States for 2020 are: About 2,620 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed and About 520 men will die from breast cancer " (American Cancer Society 2021).. 

if we’re going to compare cancer survivability apples to oranges… Unlike pancreatic cancer for instance, once diagnosed and under the best medical care for breast cancer treatment – there’s a 5 to 10 year survival rate after early detection (Cancer Mortality Rates, Wikipedia 2021). In the case of pancreatic cancer vs breast cancer prognosis… they are completely two different things. So don’t believe breast cancer is not survivable – early detection and treatment have saved many lives… with survivability averages above 5-10 years on average increasing.

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However, survivability prognosis with any type of cancer is greatly dependent on various lifestyle and biological factors, i.e., medical treatment, environmental stressors, hormones, compromised DNA, unhealthy behavior and sedentary habits, i.e., alcohol consumption, smoking, diet and drug abuse for example, overweight and diabetic medical condition, etc.

Men Like Women Should Take Action Immediately Once Signs and Symptoms of any Type of Cancer Appear Evident

Breast Cancer Prevention in America Should be Taken Seriously

The CDC (Centers for Disease and Control Prevention) 2017 statistics: Women 250,520 diagnosed with breast cancer and mortality rate at 42,000. “For every 100,000 women, 125 new Female Breast Cancer cases were reported and 20 women died of this cancer” (CDC 2021).

From 2013-2017, women diagnosed with breast cancer and death statistics

“From 2013-2017, in the United States1,222,059 new cases of Female Breast Cancer were reported among women, and 207,081 women died of this cancer. For every 100,000 women, 126 new Female Breast Cancer cases were reported and 20 women died of this cancer.

… “breast cancer remains the second–leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. The average lifetime risk for breast cancer in women is approximately 13%. In 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates 13% of newly diagnosed female breast cancer patients will die” (Greenville Journal 2020).

1999-2017 Statistics Show a Downward Trend in Breast Cancer Rates, However this does not Tell the Whole Mortality Story.

“In some cases, even though the rate is going down, the number of new cases and deaths is going up. This happens because the size of our population is growing and aging each year.” It appears when examining the statistical data over the last 20 years, there’s a slight upward breast cancer rate diagnosis and death trend occurring from the disease being off-set by life extending treatments and surgery. “5-year relative survival for Female Breast Cancer in the United States is 89.1%” (CDC 2021).

Women with Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Those with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer: 1) As a woman ages. 2) When a woman begins menstruating (young females are not immune). 3) Pregnancies near, or after 30. 4) Hormone (estrogen) replacement treatment. 5) 50 year family tree window of breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer. 6) Alcohol consumption 7) Overweight 8) Ethnicity: Hispanic, Black, Asian and Pacific Islander women

Signs and Symptoms

1) Scaling, peeling, or flaking skin around the breasts with concentration around the nipples. 2) Changes in breast color or dimpling 3) Pulling in of the nipple 4) Mass or lump within the surrounding breast tissue that feels different. 5) Unexplained breast rash 6) Change in shape of breast. 7) Redness, or skin appears orange 8) Unexplained discharge of nipple.

A summary of treatments: A mammogram is the most common preventative nonintrusive test available to ensure breast health is not compromised and proactive treatment is taken immediately when necessary. Breasts are placed between two plates to be x-rayed, identifying tumors, etc.  Mammograms can detect tissue abnormalities that cannot be felt through self examination, but seen with x-rays. With early detection of breast abnormalities “it is more likely than not,” cancer won’t see the light of day.

If diagnosed with breast cancer, get a second opinion with procedural options. There are various treatments available: Chemotherapy (anti-cancer drugs); radiotherapy (high energy x-ray kill cancer cells); hormonal therapy (tumor reduction); biologic therapy (cancer agent spread blocker). If biopsy of breast tissue is necessary and tests review the breast(s) positive with malignancy, inquire about conservative Lumpectomy (tumor removal) opposed to mastectomy; part-full removal of breast(s).

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Ill- Health Breast Cancer Prevention
1.Self examine for lumps, or thickening under arm, or change difference, ridges, pitting, redness of breast.
2.Get Annual mammograms starting at age 40 (Women), if a family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer, or cancer runs in family, etc., both men and women should seek medical opinion much earlier.
3.It is highly recommended all women between the ages of 20-39 get breast exams every 3 years.
4.Men diagnosed with breast Cancer, “Symptoms and treatments are similar. Typical age when diagnosed, 60-70.
5. Ask about various breast cancer diagnoses: Mammogram, Ultrasound, exam frequency, etc.
6. Ask physician about genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 and early detection testing with family history.
7. If a family has breast, ovary, prostate cancer, family should seriously consider screening.
8. Reduce weight, reduce alcohol consumption, stop smoking and increase physical activity-exercise.

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2021 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.org  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Clear up Yellowed, Thickened and Cracked Toenails Once and for all

6 06 2020

Last Update: 6 June 2020 by Marc Woodard

If you or someone you know has yellowed, thickened, cracked and/or swollen and inflamed toenails, it is caused from a fungus called onychomycosis [which literally means fungal infection of the nail].

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Typically this disease is caused by a fungal tinea species and can also be caused by a candida yeast fungal species. It is also possible to spread these tiny microorganisms to friends and family when good hygiene is not the standard. Either species of fungus can cause a progressive condition that can infect one or more nails, causing them to thicken, discolor, crumble and separate from the toenail bed and cause a foul odor (Dutra 2014).

Good news – This infection can be removed and healthy pink toenails can be yours once again.

What is this fungus and how do we get it? Environmental conditions necessary for it to survive and spread include: Sweaty feet with cotton socks, or socks that don’t breathe, or hold moisture and can cause more than one toenail to become infected. Public use areas that are warm, humid and moist; such as locker rooms, pools, saunas, gyms, even home showers shared by family members are suspect. These are perfect environments for these organisms to infect others through bare foot surface contact.

Once the fungus resides within the toe and nail tissues, your footwear and improper hygiene can sustain the culture, then cultivate and spread it as long as the environmental conditions remain consistent. Acquiring the fungus has mostly to do with improper hygiene and footwear.

Public use showers and locker room floors are fungus cultivating environments.

There appear to be other factors that include age and other medical conditions that can cause more severe foot and toenail problems. These other factors may include abnormal PH skin, poor circulation, Athlete’s foot, diabetes, immune problems, another infection or injury of toe or nail and skin psoriasis (MayoClinic 2011). It is said before a person reaches 70 years old, there is a 50/50 chance of contracting this fungal condition.

A mechanical or tissue breach may also make you prone or susceptible to acquiring this infection. For instance, when you wear an improperly fitted, or undersized shoe and walk in a way that creates a bio-mechanical foot-toe friction, an opportunity is provided to the fungus which infects tissue. For example, when the end of the big and small toe nails repeatedly catch friction between the toes and shoe material, a loosening of the nail(s) from the toe bed(s) can lead to micro-trauma of both skin and nails. Micro cracks in skin and nails present a perfect opportunity for bacteria to set in and spread its infectious fungus (Dutra 2014).

Also beware, unsterilized salon-home nail clippers, emery boards or other instruments can become infected and spread the fungus. And once it’s on your toenails… after clipping them, it is possible to spread it to the fingernails if you don’t wash your hands.

And if you use a lot of toenail and fingernail polish to cover discolored nails, this may sustain the life of the fungus indefinitely. Because of the way nail polish seals in bacteria and moisture, the tissue does not breathe or heal well.

Marc Woodard  tending to foot health while
hiking in the Nevada Desert, 2017.

If this fungal infection goes untreated it can continue on indefinitely and may cause, or contribute to increased health risks caused by other medical complications. “When the immune system is weakened due to other medical conditions especially those with Aids, leukemia or have received an organ transplant serious health risk may result” (MayoClinic 2011).

There are medical treatments, pharmaceuticals and natural remedies you can use that may remove this fungus once and for all. However, if you have a medical condition and/or infection is causing extreme pain and is of health concern, it is wise to seek medical attention in treating this disease immediately.

Your medical treatment options,

It is highly recommended you make an appointment with your primary care doctor or podiatrist for proper treatment of fungal foot, toe, toenail or fingernail infection. Your doctor will likely prescribe one of the following topical medications: For mild infection this may likely include one of four applications: Formula 3, Elon, Fungasil, or Penlac. For a more serious condition an oral antifungal drug may be prescribed, such as Sporanox or Lamisil.

Before oral medication is prescribed your doctor will likely need to assess your health risk through lab work. This assessment is done to determine the functionality of your liver and what prescriptions are safe for your use.

Doctors often prescribe antifungal powders with orals to increase the odds that the fungal infections will stay neutralized or completely abated.

Natural treatments may remove or improve this condition. The most popular ones are listed.

  1. Vinegar soaking [1 part vinegar/2 part water], ~ 20 minutes daily; no less than 2-3 times per week.
  2. Some even treat this fungus with a daily application of Vicks Vapor Rub. However it is wise to consult your doctor about this as there is no known study that proves it will kill this fungus.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar [soak foot in equal parts mixed with water].
  4. Tea Tree Oil [swab pure oil on nail, or dilute with equal parts olive oil or thyme oil to apply to skin]. I’ve found this treatment to be one of the most affective at killing the fungus, when treatment continues for 2 months. However, it may return when proper footwear and hygiene in not addressed.
  5. White vinegar [considered the best solution in dealing with toe nail fungus]. 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, soak 15 minutes daily].
  6. Garlic has allicin and is an anti-fungal element [use equal parts garlic and olive oil]. If you don’t have garlic oils, crush two garlic cloves and two Tsps. of olive oil. Let mixture stand 24 hours, then apply and cover with bandage daily], (Top10 2014).
Before and after treatment
Before and after treatment

Note: All natural treatments mentioned here are strictly informational. We do not provide medical advice. Consult with your doctor or other health care provider before using any of these tips or treatments.

How can you prevent toenail fungus from developing?

  1. Purchase properly fitted shoes that breathe and provide enough room for your toes.
  2. Wear sandals when appropriate.
  3. Air out shoes, throw away over worn socks and shoes.
  4. Change socks daily and especially after sweating in them and don’t wear socks that absorb moisture.
  5. Use anti-fungus powders and sprays; maintain short, dry and clean nails.
  6. Don’t pick at skin around nails even when there is infection.
  7. If you have your toenails manicured by a saloon, ensure they sterilize and disinfect instruments prior to use.
  8. After social functions remove nail polish.
  9. Bare foot walking in public places should be avoided.
  10. See your podiatrist if you have foot and/or toe fungus.

A new treatment in the marketplace that appears to be promising is photodynamic laser therapy. This is where intense light is focused on a nail where an acid is applied as part of the protocol to kill the fungus.

No more embarrassing reasons not to go barefooted.

Remove this fungus once and for all and get back the health of your toenails. These medical treatments and natural tips have worked well for others and they can work well for you. Make the effort to see your doctor and/or apply a treatment that will work to remove this fungus once and for all.

Works Cited and Reference

Bing. “Toenail Fungus Pictures and Free – Bing Images.” Bing Images – Toenail and Fingernail Fungus. Microsoft. Web. 23 May 2014.

Dutra, Tim, Dr. “Toenail Fungus.” FootVitals. IMG Health Publications, 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 22 May 2014.

MayoClinic. “Nail Fungus.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 23 May 2014.

Top 10. “How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus.” Top 10. Top 10 Home Remedies. Web. 23 May 2014.

Woodard, Marc T. “Diabetes A Serious Disease.” MirrorAthlete Fitness Secrets. MirrorAthlete, 19 September 2017. Web. 19 September 2017.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2018-20 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., http://www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.