October is breast cancer awareness month, and it's an important time for people who suffered or are currently suffering from breast cancer to speak out and raise awareness about the risk factors. People typically assume that only women suffer from breast cancer, but did you know that men can have breast cancer, too? Mathew Knowles, former manager of Destiny's Child and father of superstars Beyoncé and Solange, is part of the less than 1 percent of men who get diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, he was diagnosed at stage 1A, and had a mastectomy as a result of the diagnosis. Now, he wants to help men identify symptoms, as well as spread awareness of the simple fact that men can have breast cancer, too.
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Why Men Should Get Screened for Breast Cancer
Knowles appeared on The Dr. Oz Show on Friday Oct. 12, 2019 about his experience dealing with breast cancer. He first became suspicious of breast cancer was when he noticed a drop of red blood on his white t-shirt one day, and his wife mentioned she had seen small drops of blood on the sheets for weeks. He immediately went to get a mammogram, and the news about his diagnosis was broken to him within a matter of days. Although it's fairly uncommon for men to be diagnosed with breast cancer, it is still possible and Knowles wants men who are suffering from it to know that they are not alone in this fight. "I feel like there aren’t any guidelines for men about this – we are left in the dark," he said.
Knowles' doctor, Dr. Susan Domchek, also appeared on The Dr. Oz Show about how men can get educated about breast cancer. Just like women, men have breast tissue that can have mutations, and those mutations can cause cancerous lumps, or tumors. Men are not typically advised to do mammograms for breast cancer screening, but Dr. Domchek recommends that men get screened just to be safe. Although the disease isn't very common in men, it's not impossible for a man to have the BRCA2 gene mutation as Knowles has, or other cancer-causing gene mutations that place men in a high-risk category for breast cancer, according to Domchek. If a parent has this gene mutation, that means their children also have a 50 percent chance of inheriting a cancer-causing gene mutation, so it's better to be safe than sorry — not only for your health but for the health of your kids' as well.
Breast Cancer Checklist
Here are the early signs for women and men:
· Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
· Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
· Breast or nipple pain.
· Nipple retraction (turning inward)
· Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin.
· Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
· A painless lump or thickening in your breast tissue.
· Changes to the skin covering your breasts, such as dimpling, puckering, redness or scaling.
· Changes to your nipple, such as redness or scaling, or a nipple that begins to turn inward.
· Discharge from your nipple.
If you think you might be at risk for breast cancer, contact your doctor as soon as possible to get screened.