October is breast cancer awareness month — and in that spirit, it was recently revealed that one of superstar singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter’s parents — her father — has been diagnosed with the terrible disease.
TMZ reported that Matthew Knowles — father of famous pop singers Beyonce and Solange — announced his recent breast cancer diagnosis.
Raising awareness about breast cancer – in men
It is a common misconception that only women are afflicted by breast cancer, and while the risk for that particular cancer is higher among women than for men, it is not unheard of for males to suffer from it as well. Such instances represent roughly 1% of all cases, with the lion’s share of those patients being men between the ages of 60 and 70.
Furthermore, the mortality rate for men with breast cancer is higher than it is for women, though that may be because men are far less likely to be tested or to catch their cancer early enough to effectively treat it.
Family history at play
Knowles appeared Wednesday on Good Morning America and sat down for a lengthy interview with co-host Michael Strahan to open up about his diagnosis and how he has been handling the news.
He revealed it was small drops of blood that he began to notice on his shirts and bedsheets that sparked his concern and ultimately prompted him to go see a doctor. Diagnostic testing eventually determined that he did indeed have breast cancer.
Knowles further explained that breast cancer has long been quite prevalent in his family, with an aunt and two cousins on his mother’s side of the family dying from the disease, as well as his sister-in-law. On top of that, both his mother and mother-in-law have also received the same troubling diagnosis.
Knowles proceeded to discuss some of the blood and genetic tests that he had undergone in addition to a mammogram and talked about the screenings presently available for other forms of cancer that typically afflict men.
He also announced that he would have his second breast removed in the near future in order to reduce the risk of recurrence, though he cautioned that nobody can ever truly be “cancer-free” once they’ve had it.
Knowles emphasized that his primary motivation in coming forward with news of his rare diagnosis was to help raise awareness of the issue and hopefully spur change in the way society as a whole — but men in particular — address the once-stigmatized issue.
Importance of early detection
A major key to cancer survival is early detection, which can dramatically improve treatment success and overall survival, something Knowles made sure to highlight.
While it is truly terrible that his family has suffered so much as a result of cancer, it is a good thing that Knowles himself is now speaking out about it and helping to shed light on a topic neither men nor women can afford to ignore.