In light of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Mathew Knowles, the father of Beyoncé and Solange made a big announcement. In an interview on Good Morning America on Wednesday, the 67-year-old revealed that he’d be diagnosed with breast cancer recently. When he received the shocking news, the first call he made was to his family, he said.
"This is genetics," Knowles said. "It also means that my kids have a higher chance, a higher risk, even my grandkids have a higher risk. And they handled it like they should. They went and got the test."
Knowles, who was formerly his daughter Beyoncé’s manager said that he reached out to his doctor after noticing dots of blood on his shirts. His wife found the stains on their sheets. Although men are far less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women — one in 833 men will be afflicted in their lifetime, compared to one in eight for women, according to the American Cancer Society — his doctor still performed a mammogram. Knowles revealed to Michael Strahan in the GMA interview that he has the BRCA2 gene mutation, which makes puts him at higher risk for the disease. He notes that he underwent surgery during July, but is doing better now, although he’s much more conscious about the way he lives his life.
"I have four things to be concerned about: prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma and breast cancer," he told GMA. "The rest of my life I have to be very much aware and conscious and do all of the early detection... for the rest of my life.”
He says he’s taking steps to be healthier, including quitting drinking, and incorporating exercise and meditation into his routines. "Things that used to be important... are not important to me now," he said. "[I] just look at the world differently."
Knowles said that he was coming forward because he wanted to let other Black men know that this could happen to them too. They should keep that in mind and get tested, he noted. (A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that Black males are more likely to die from breast cancer than white men.)
"I’ve learned that the numbers that we have for men on breast cancer are not adequate because we don't have enough men that come forward that take the exam," Knowles told GMA. "I'm hoping by me coming here today, speaking out, letting folks know that you can survive this, but it has to be early detection. I can't over emphasise the word 'early.'"