Beyoncé and Solange's father, Mathew Knowles, left many shocked after revealing in a Good Morning America interview that he'd been diagnosed with stage 1A breast cancer after continuously finding tiny blood specs on his T-shirts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, about 245,000 women learn they have breast cancer. This is far more than the yearly average of 2,200 men diagnosed with the same disease.
Becoming one of the rare men to face the disease, the 67-year-old revealed to The NY Times that after running some tests, doctors revealed he had a BRCA2 gene mutation, which increases certain cancer risks.
Instantly tapping into dad-mode, Mr. Knowles began thinking about his family's health.
“My two daughters have an increased chance in having breast cancer,” he said. “They have an increased chance of ovarian cancer. And it goes down to grandkids.”
According to heart.org, "in addition to each child facing a 50% chance of having the mutation, each grandchild has a 25% chance."
Luckily, his daughters are proactive about their health and have made it a priority to get routine breast cancer screenings.
"I have let both Beyoncé and Solange be aware and know what's required," Mr. Knowles told heart.org. "They proudly do routine screenings... Fortunately, my daughters have a wonderful team of experts that have certainly been vigilant in making sure and ensuring that they're OK."
Here's what you should know about BRCA2 gene mutation:
WHAT IS BRCA2?
Based on information from cancer.gov, BRCA2 (Breast Cancer Gene 2) is a gene that normally helps to suppress the growth of cells, however, a person who inherits certain mutations (changes) in a BRCA2 gene has a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
Here's How the brca2 gene can affect you:
Mutations in the BRCA2 gene can not only increase a woman's risk of developing breast cancer but can also increase her chances of developing other cancers, including ovarian cancer.
Men with BRCA2 gene mutations are at a higher risk of developing prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer.
If one of your family members has BRCA2, you could, too.
"A harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation can be inherited from a person’s mother or father. Each child of a parent who carries a mutation in one of these genes has a 50% chance (or 1 chance in 2) of inheriting the mutation." -- cancer.gov
BRCA testing is not recommended for most people, here's who needs it:
"BRCA gene mutations are rare, affecting only about 0.2 percent of the U.S. population. But you may want this test if you think you are at a higher risk of having the mutation."
You are more likely to have a BRCA mutation if you:
- Have or had breast cancer that was diagnosed before age 50
- Have or had breast cancer in both breasts
- Have or had both breast and ovarian cancer
- Have one or more family members with breast cancer
- Have a male relative with breast cancer
- Have a relative already diagnosed with a BRCA mutation
- Are of Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish ancestry
Here's What happens during a BRCA test:
"A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes." - medlineplus.gov
Here's the benefits of getting tested:
"The potential benefits of a true negative result include a sense of relief regarding the future risk of cancer, learning that one's children are not at risk of inheriting the family's cancer susceptibility, and the possibility that special checkups, tests, or preventive surgeries may not be needed.
"A positive test result may bring relief by resolving uncertainty regarding future cancer risk and may allow people to make informed decisions about their future health care, including taking steps to reduce their cancer risk. In addition, people who have a positive test result may choose to participate in medical research that could, in the long run, help reduce deaths from hereditary breast and ovarian cancer." -cancer.gov
Not many people get tested.
"For every 10 women tested for BRCA mutations, only one man gets tested," according to heart.org, making it harder for researchers to learn more about the gene mutation. So, if you're at risk, please get tested.