Beyoncé's dad Mathew Knowles opens up about his breast cancer bout: 'I want to save lives'
Mathew Knowles encourages men to get breast cancer tests after they have defeated the disease themselves.
The 68-year-old father of Grammy-winning superstars Beyoncé and Solange Knowles shared his own struggle and said he was suspicious that something was wrong after noticing a "small, recurring blood stain" on his shirt.
A mammogram and biopsy confirmed that Knowles had breast cancer, the same disease that he said claimed the lives of his mother, aunt, and great aunt.
"I was incredulous," Knowles said in an interview with People magazine.
Male breast cancer is rare, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2015, about 1% of new breast cancer cases were diagnosed in men.
Beyoncé's father Mathew Knowles talks about breast cancer diagnosis and encourages men to get tested
Mathew Knowles reports on his fight against breast cancer to raise men's awareness.
Knowles said he was lucky to have recognized his cancer early when it was stage 1A. He had a mastectomy, a procedure for removing breast tissue, but didn't need chemotherapy.
When performing tests from his practice, doctors found that Knowles had the BRCA2 gene mutation, which, among other types of cancer, increases the risk of breast cancer in men and women.
"I had never heard the word BRCA in all of the years that I had worked in diagnostic imaging," said Knowles, who sold medical equipment before turning to music. "If I had known about the BRCA gene, I would have had a double mastectomy."
Knowles uses his testimony to draw attention to male breast cancer, which he has termed "breast cancer". It also promotes genetic testing to look for the BRCA2 gene mutation.
"A lot has to change in men's education about breast cancer," he told People. "I want to save lives, especially in the black community."
The American Cancer Society says: "Black men with breast cancer tend to have a poorer prognosis," much like black women.
The health organization predicts that 2,620 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in men this year, leading to more than 500 deaths.
"If you're ahead of the curve, your result will be great most of the time," said Knowles. "I am a living example."
More: Beyonce, Jamie Foxx and other stars who speak out against racism
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Beyoncé's father Mathew Knowles reports on his breast cancer fight
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