Mathew Knowles revealed this week that he’s been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The father of Beyoncé and Solange opened up about his stage 1A diagnosis and the ways in which men can also be predisposed to breast cancer in an interview with Michael Strahan on Wednesday’s Good Morning America, saying that he was “also a survivor of breast cancer.“
The former corporate executive explained that he discovered that he had cancer when blood stains kept appearing on his shirt. He revealed his wife also noticed blood on the sheets.
“Men want to keep it hidden, because we feel embarrassed—and there’s no reason for that,” he said.
Knowles, 67, knew to check for breast cancer as a potential cause because of his time working at Xerox.
“In 1980 I worked in the medical division of Xerox,” he said. “I worked there for eight years, selling weroradiography, which was at that point the leading modality for breast cancer.”
“By being in that position, I had to learn, because I sold to radiologists, all of the modality technology terminology. Then I worked with Philips, selling MRI/CT scanners.”
Knowles also said that many women in his family have been affected or died of breast cancer, forcing him to face the disease that affects 1 in 8 women. For Knowles, genetic testing showed that he was predisposed to getting male breast cancer. He has the BRCA2 gene mutation, which places him in a high risk category.
“My kids have a 50% [chance of inheriting a cancer-causing gene mutation],” he said. “That’s male or female. We used to think this was only an issue for women, but this is male or female.”
After undergoing surgery last July, Knowles said he is now “doing very well.”
His awareness around male cancer has grown and he now wants to use his platform to talk openly about the ways in which people can help themselves.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 245,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and 2,200 in men each year in the United States.
“The key to this is early detection,” he said, during his appearance which also occurred during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”There’s no excuse for it. We’ll go get a new pair of shoes. Well, why not an important test you can go and get that could save your life? Equally important, your children’s lives.”