Beyonce and her sister Solange were tested for the BRCA2 gene… after their father Mathew Knowles told them he had breast cancer
Published: 18:31, 2 October 2019 | Updated: 22:56, 2 October 2019
Beyonce and her sister Solange Knowles were tested for the mutated BRCA2 gene after their father Mathew Knowles informed them he had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The former Destiny’s Child manager has publicly revealed he is battling the illness and in an interview on Good Morning America he told presenter Michael Strahan that the first call he made after getting the life changing news was to his musician daughters to warn them that they could be carriers of the same gene which causes cancer.
‘The first call was to my family, because this is genetics – it 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,’ he said.
Mathew revealed during a TMZ Live session that he plans on removing the ‘other breast’ after already having ‘three lymph nodes’ removed.
Getting tested: Beyonce and her sister Solange Knowles were tested for the mutated BRCA2 gene after their father Mathew Knowles informed them he had been diagnosed with breast cancer. He is pictured above at the Ebony Power 100 Gala at The Beverly Hills Hotel in December 2016
‘I have to say I’m doing very well,’ Mathew said. ‘I never had any pain or any symptoms of pain’
The music manager recalled seeing a ‘a dot of blood’ on his bed sheets over the course of a few days, which prompted him to seek medical help.
‘I’m grateful to be cancer-free,’ he said. ‘They took out three lymph nodes … and in January, the other breast will be removed.’
He credited ‘being proactive’ and ‘early detection’ for saving his life and hopes others will take the same precautions.
Father and daughter: Beyonce and her dad smile as they attend the premiere of her movie Dreams Girls back in 2007
Mathew – who decided to share his condition to mark the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, which runs throughout October – did not reveal the results Beyonce’s and Solange’s tests.
The music executive – who has Beyonce and Solange with his ex-wife Tina and two young children with current spouse Gena Avery, whom he married in 2013 – admits there has been a history of breast cancer throughout his family.
He said: ‘Breast cancer has been prevalent in my family. My mother’s sister died of breast cancer, my mother’s sister’s two and only daughters died of breast cancer and my sister-in-law died in March of breast cancer with three kids – a nine, 11- and a 15-year-old – and my mother-in-law had breast cancer. So breast cancer has been all around me. My wife’s mother has breast cancer, too.’
Family ties: Matthew with Beyonce, Solange and Tina at the premiere of Austin Powers In Goldmember in 2002
Former group: Mathew is pictured above posing with Beyonce’s former group Destiny’s Child in 2000
CAN MEN GET BREAST CANCER? YES – AND IT’S OFTEN DEADLIER
It is exceedingly rare for men to get breast cancer, but possible, and when they do they are more at risk of dying of the disease.
Although men never develop milk ducts in their breasts as women do, they do have breast tissue, and the cells that makes up that tissue can become cancerous.
That said, men of course have far less breast tissue than their female counterparts, so the odds that any of that those cells multiply out of control are lower.
An estimated one percent of new cases of breast cancer every year in the US are diagnosed in men, about one in 1,000 of whom develop the disease.
That amounts to about 2,000 new male breast cancer cases a year, and between 500 and 800 deaths – compared to nearly 270,000 new cases and over 41,000 deaths among women.
Still, the fatality rate among men is higher among men.
While nearly 91 percent of women who develop breast cancer are still living five years later, 84 percent of men live the same amount of time after diagnosis.
This disparity in survival rates is mostly due to few non-biological factors.
Men are less likely to be aware they can get breast cancer, so they may not know to even look for the signs.
Changes to men’s minimal breast tissue are often more subtle, and even if they do notice, many men are embarrassed.
Most breast tumors in men form under the nipple or areola, where there tends to be a little more tissue.
Signs of male breast cancer are similar to those that occur in women: a lump, knot or portion of the tissue that feels thicker and may be tender, irritation, nipple indentation, dimpling or puckering and discharge.
Men can carry either BRCA gene, but BRCA2 leaves them particularly predisposed to breast cancer.
The average age at diagnosis is 65, and men with other excess breast tissue, high levels of estrogen or those who are overweight are at greater risk.
Mathew had his affected breast removed in July and he is currently in recovery and he will be having his second breast removed in January to minimize the risk of getting another tumor.
As a carrier of the BRCA2 gene, Mathew also has a higher risk of developing other forms of cancer and he is being actively tested for them.
He shared: ‘Now what does having a mutation on BRCA2 mean for a man? You have a higher risk of getting breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer or melanoma … I’m still getting test results back. I got an MRI for pancreatic cancer and my pancreas and liver are fine. My dermatologist removed two moles – both of which came back benign for melanoma. I got an MRI on my prostate a week ago, but we’re still waiting on the results.’
Family photo: Beyonce, Solange, Mathew and his then-wife Tina smile for a photo with their two daughters back in 1990. Tina and Mathew later separated in 2011
‘I am going to get the second breast removed in January, because I want to do anything I can to reduce the risk. We use the words ‘cancer-free’, but medically there’s no such thing as ‘cancer-free’. There’s always a risk. My risk of a recurrence of breast cancer is less than five per cent, and the removal of the other breast reduces it down to about two per cent.
‘My kids have a 50 per cent [chance of inheriting the BRCA gene mutation.] That’s male or female. We used to think this was only an issue for women, but this is male or female.’
‘I 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,’ he said. ‘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 emphasize the word ‘early.”
Happy: The talent manager is pictured above arriving at the Ebony Power 100 Gala in 2016 and smiling next to his wife Gena Charmaine Avery