The father of Beyoncé and Solange Knowles recently revealed a shocking medical diagnosis: he has breast cancer. Mathew Knowles now wants to shine a light on male breast cancer, and is urging other men with the disease to speak out.
The 67-year-old appeared on “Good Morning America” in early Oct. to talk about his diagnosis. He said he first noticed something was wrong when he found blood on his White t-shirt.
“When I had the blood on my t-shirt, initially, I didn’t think it was breast cancer,” Knowles told GMA. “My mind went a lot of places. My mind went to what medication I was on, because different medications might have caused some sort of discharge … and then I thought, just because of the risk factor, that it could be breast cancer and I would go get a mammogram.”
That risk factor was from Knowles’ past career at Xerox. “For context, in 1980 I worked in the medical division of Xerox,” he said. “I worked there for eight years, selling Xeroradiography, which was at that point the leading modality for breast cancer.”
Knowles went to the doctor and got a mammogram and confirmed he did, in fact, have breast cancer. He immediately got surgery and a BRCA test, a genetic test which shows if a person has a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
He also revealed a family history of the disease: his maternal aunt died of breast cancer, as did two cousins. “My kids have a 50% to 70% chance of getting the BRCA mutation and breast cancer. That’s male or female,” he said.
He is hoping that sharing his story as man with breast cancer will shine a light on the risk men can face.
Breast cancer is very rare in men. According to the American Cancer Society, men have a 1 in 833 risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime — compared to about a 1 in 8 lifetime risk for women. It is 100 times less common among White men than White women and 70 times less common among Black men than Black women.