Beyoncé and Solange's father, Mathew Knowles, opened up about fighting breast cancer and how he hopes he can use his story to save lives.
Mathew Knowles is speaking out about beating breast cancer as a man in his 60s, and what he hopes sharing his story can do to help others fighting the same battle. Mathew spoke to PEOPLE about how he discovered the first sign that something wasn't quite. He'd noticed a pinprick-sized red dot on his shirt, which he'd brushed off at first, until his wife, Gena Avery Knowles, noted that she'd seen similar dots on their sheets. He then went to the doctor, and a few days later, he was told that he was one of the few men who make up roughly 1% of the 270,000 breast cancer diagnoses each year.
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Thankfully, he had caught the cancer early, so he decided not to tell his children until after he'd had surgery. “I didn’t want them worrying that this was a life-or-death kind of situation on surgery day," he said. However, after having the surgery, it was discovered through additional testing that he had the BRCA2 gene mutation, which poses a greater risk of developing pancreatic, melanoma, and prostate cancer. After researching his family history upon receiving this devastating news, he found out that, along with his mother and aunt, his great aunt had also died of breast cancer, and four of his father's six brothers had died of prostate cancer, as well.
So, knowing what he knew now, Mathew made it his mission to raise awareness about the BRCA gene so that folks can get proactive about their health. He's partnered with genetic testing company, Invitae, to encourage everyone to get themselves tested, which included his own kin, Beyoncé and Solange. “If you’re ahead of the curve, then your outcome will be, most of the time, great,” he said. “I’m a living example.”
“A whole lot has to change in the education of men about breast cancer,” he indicated. “I want to save lives, especially in the Black community."