Mathew Knowles, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in July, has already undergone one surgery and calls himself a "survivor" of the disease

By Dave Quinn
October 02, 2019 10:01 AM
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Mathew Knowles is opening up about how his life changed after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and shining a light on how the disease can affect men.

The 67-year-old talent manager — who is father to famed singers Beyoncé and Solange, 33 — appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday to discuss the status of his health, in a pre-taped interview with Michael Strahan.

The Alabama native went public with his news on Tuesday.

He identified himself as a “survivor of breast cancer” in the chat with Strahan, explaining that he was first diagnosed over the summer after noticing a recurring dot of blood on his shirt, and then again on his bedsheets.

“I immediately went to my doctor,” said Knowles, who got a mammogram, an ultrasound and a needle biopsy before health officials made the official diagnosis. “It was very clear that I had breast cancer.”

Surgery to removed the breast came the last week of July.

“I’m doing really good,” Mathew said. “I’m doing all the steps for recovery.”

“I am going to get the second breast removed in January because I want to do anything I can to reduce the risk,” Knowles added, in an op-ed for ABC News. “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 5 percent, and the removal of the other breast reduces it down to about 2 percent.”

His outlook on life has also changed.”I stopped drinking,” he said. “I wanted to have a clean bill of health; do things like exercise, meditate. Things that used to be important are not important to me now. I just look at the world differently.”

Breast cancer is rare in men according to the American Cancer Society, with only 2,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer expected to be diagnosed this year (that’s less than 1 percent of all cases, vs. female breast cancer, which happens in 1 in 8 women).

The disease is more common in black men than in white men.

“All the things I could get, why would I get this?” Knowles said, recalling when he first heard the news. “From a man’s perspective, [I was] thinking, ‘Why me?'”

After surgery, Knowles learned the results of his BRCA genetic test, which determines a person’s chance of developing breast cancer.

According to the exam, Knowles has a mutation on his BRCA2 gene. This puts him at more risk for “prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma, and breast cancer,” Knowles said.

“The rest of my life I have to be very much aware and conscious and do all of the early detection — constant mammograms, constant prostate exams, constants MRIs,” he said on GMA.

He wrote: “I’m still getting test results back. I got an MRI for pancreatic cancer and my pancreas and liver are fine. My dermatologist removed 2 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.”

Mathew Knowles and daughter Beyoncé
| Credit: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Knowles also revealed that cancer runs in his family and claimed the life of his mother’s sister and her two only daughters.

Because of that, Mathew said he immediately called his family when he got his diagnosis.

“That was the very first call because this is genetics,” Knowles said on GMA. “It also means that my kids have a higher chance, a higher risk. And even my grandkids have a higher risk.”

Ultimately, Knowles hopes that speaking out about his breast cancer will encourage other men to check up on their health.

“We used to think this was only an issue for women, but this is male or female,” Knowles wrote in his op-ed. “I want to continue the dialogue on awareness and early detection — male or female. The key to this is early detection … if you detect the cancer early, you can have a low mortality rate and live a normal life.”

“You can survive this,” he told Strahan. “But it has to be early detection and I can’t overemphasize the word ‘early.'”

Mathew Knowles
| Credit: Bob Levey/WireImage

Knowles is currently married to Gena Charmaine Avery, whom he wed in 2013.

He and Tina Knowles-Lawson, Beyoncé and Solange’s mother, divorced after 41 years of marriage back in 2011. Knowles-Lawson has since married actor Richard Lawson.

Knowles formerly worked as both Beyoncé and Solange’s managers as well as the manager of Destiny’s Child.

His relationship with Beyoncé became strained in recent years, but the two have since been on good terms.

On Sept. 4, the father wished Beyoncé a happy 38th birthday, with a sweet tribute on Instagram.

“It’s your birthday! I hope you party like it’s your birthday, @beyoncé! Love, Dad,” he wrote alongside a video compilation of Beyoncé performing.”