The father of famed singers Beyoncé and Solange sat down with ABC’s flagship morning show two days into Breast Cancer Awareness Month to discuss how he discovered he had the disease and how his daughters reacted after learning the news.
Speaking to host Michael Strahan in a pre-taped chat that aired Oct. 2, Knowles said he noticed a recurring dot of blood on his shirt, and his wife, Gena Charmaine Avery, noticed the same on the bedsheets. He said he went and got a mammogram and got the diagnosis.
“Of all the things I could get why would I get this?” Knowles says. “From a man’s perspective, I’m thinking, ‘why me?'”
It’s rare for men to get breast cancer. According to breastcancer.org, men make up less than 1 percent of all breast cancer patients. Knowles, who got his diagnosis early, says he has the BRCA 2 gene mutation. That puts him at risk of not only breast cancer but prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma.
“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 says.
Knowles said he underwent surgery to remove one of his breasts in July and he’s “now doing all the steps for recovery.” In an op-ed written for ABC News, he noted he’s “going to get the second breast removed in January because I want to do anything I can to reduce the risk.”
But the diagnosis has not just affected the man who helped Destiny’s Child become one of the most successful girl groups of all time. It also affects one of the most famous members of the trio, daughter Beyoncé, and younger daughter Solange.
“That was the very first call because this is genetics,” explained Knowles, who got in touch with his children soon after his diagnosis. “It also means that my kids have a higher chance, a higher risk. And even my grand kids have a higher risk.”
The talent manager lost his sister and her only two daughters to cancer, as it runs in the family and he stated that Bey and Solange have gotten tested for the BRCA 2 gene mutation.
“They handled it like they should; they went and got the test,” he says.
Knowles, who said he quit drinking and took up exercise and meditation, said his outlook on life has changed.
“Things that used to be important are not important to me now. I just look at the world differently,” he says after emphasizing the importance of early detection — especially in Black men, who the American Cancer Society reports are more at risk for breast cancer than white men.