Male breast cancer awareness: Why Beyonce’s father, Mathew Knowles, urges men to get tested – USA TODAY

Posted: October 9, 2019 at 5:48 am

Mathew Knowles, father to Beyonc and Solange, revealed on "Good Morning America" that he's been battling breast cancer. USA TODAY

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins, few people think about the men affected.

Beyoncs father, Mathew Knowles, revealed on "Good Morning America"Wednesday that he is battling breast cancer and urged other men to get tested for the disease.

The American Cancer Society estimates about 2,670 new cases of invasive male breast cancer will be diagnosed in the USAin 2019, and about 500 men will die from the disease.

Mary Smania, assistant professor at Michigan State University's College of Nursing, said breast cancer in men is extremely rare less than 1% butcarries dangerous consequences.

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The American Cancer Society lists signs and symptoms of male breast cancer:

Sometimes breast cancer can spread and cause swellingunder the arm or around the collar bone, even before the original tumor in the breast isn't big enough to be felt, according to the organization.

"It's a little bit easier to detect," Smania said. "Typically because they don't have the amount of breast tissue that women have."

Routine breast screenings don't exist for men likethey do for women, Smania said, so it's important to see a health care professional with any concerns.

Lyndsay Rhodes, associate professor of biological sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University, said knowing the symptoms is a great first step to early detection.

"Being aware of symptoms can save lives," Rhodes said. "Early detection is key."

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The ACS 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 milkto the nipple or the glands that make breastmilk. Although men's breasts don't produce milk like women's, their bodies havethese ducts and glands.

Smania said the most common form of breast cancer in men is the invasive ductal carcinoma, which the ACS said starts in the milk duct, breaks through the wall of the duct,then grows into the fatty tissue of the breast where it has the potential to spread.

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When a man is diagnosed with breast cancer, Smania said, doctors usually do genetic testing as well to determine if he carries BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, also 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, Smania said.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation said 55%-65% of women with the BRCA1 mutation and about 45%with the BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by the age of 70.

"Education in this matter is critical," Rhodes said."Men are statistically less likely to have a primary care physician, go to yearly examsor conduct self breast exams."

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