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Mathew Knowles, a music executive whose daughters Beyoncé and Solange are among the most famous celebrities in that business, first noticed something was wrong back in July, when drops of blood started showing up on his shirts and bedsheets.
That’s when he decided to go to the doctor, he said last week during an interview on Good Morning America. What Knowles, 67, learned was something that more than 2,200 men hear every year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): He had breast cancer.
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“Of all the things I could get, why would I get this?” Knowles said about his initial reaction to the diagnosis.
Breast cancer in men is rare — less than 1 percent of all breast cancer cases develop in men, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. But it does happen.
“I think that people are often surprised that men also get breast cancer,” said Susan Brown, senior director of education and patient support at Susan G. Komen, a national breast cancer organization.
“So really, the risk of men not being aware or not being conscious of the fact that they could get breast cancer is that signs and symptoms that may be present will be unrecognized,” said Brown. “Or, if they are recognized and changes are noted, they don’t understand the potential implications of those changes, and so they delay seeking medical care.”
Unlike women, men are not routinely screened for breast cancer — and there’s a reason for that.