Mathew Knowles with his daughter Beyoncé in 2004. (Image: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Breast cancer is a disease which is frequently associated with females. However, it also occurs in males, although not quite as frequently as in females.
Unfortunately, it seems like most males are not aware of this fact and wrongly assume that the disease only occurs in females. A very smart lady remarked that breasts are not like ovaries, which are found only in females. Because of this, males are also at risk of getting breast cancer.
This was highlighted by Matthew Knowles, the father of famous musician Beyonce, who revealed on Wednesday that he is battling breast cancer and urged other men to get tested for the disease.
Knowles, 67, shared his diagnosis on Good Morning America and revealed that he was treated in July after getting a mammogram.
.@MathewKnowles’ message for others after his breast cancer diagnosis: “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 and I can’t overemphasize the word early.” https://t.co/zMRJ4O03lS pic.twitter.com/pctiQAP4Y8
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 2, 2019
While breast cancer in males is extremely rare – occurring less than 1% – it carries dangerous consequences and is often fatal.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer in men?
According to the American Cancer Society, the signs and symptoms of male breast cancer include the following:
- A lump or swelling, which is often (but not always) painless
- Skin dimpling or puckering
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
- Discharge from the nipple
Mary Smania, assistant professor at Michigan State University’s College of Nursing told USAToday,
“It’s a little bit easier to detect [in men]. Typically because they [men] don’t have the amount of breast tissue that women have.
How do men get breast cancer?
The American Cancer Society noted that cells in nearly any part of the body can be susceptible to cancer and can spread to other areas of the body.
The organization’s website says cancer can start at different parts of the breast, such in the ducts that carry milk to the nipple or the glands that make breast milk. Although men’s breasts don’t produce milk like women’s, their bodies have these ducts and glands.
Why is it important to get tested?
When a man is diagnosed with breast cancer doctors usually do genetic testing as well to determine if he carries BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, which are known by the National Breast Cancer Foundation as the “Breast Cancer Gene.”
These mutations are genetic and can be passed down to children, which would significantly increase the chances of a daughter having breast cancer
Speaking on Good Morning America, Knowles said,
Men want to keep it hidden because we feel embarrassed—and there’s no reason for that.
The numbers we have on men and breast cancer are not adequate because we don’t have enough men that come forward, that take the exam. I need men to speak out if they’ve had breast cancer. I need them to let people know they have the disease, so we can get correct numbers and better research.
Lyndsay Rhodes, associate professor of biological sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University added,
Education in this matter is critical. Men are statistically less likely to have a primary care physician, go to yearly exams or conduct self-breast exams.