Did you know? Beyonce’s father, Matthew Knowles, was diagnosed with breast cancer. He states, “we used to think this was only an issue for women, but this is male or female.” According to CBS news, “he is hoping that sharing his story as man with breast cancer will shine a light on the risk men can face.”
Surprisingly, less than 20% of women diagnosed with breast cancer who are at high risk for a BRCA mutation are tested. Even lower rates of genetic testing are seen among African Americans, who are less aware of their risk for a BRCA mutation.
Let’s talk facts. All men with breast cancer should be offered BRCA testing. 6-8% of men with breast cancer will have a BRCA2 mutation. Matthew’s children have a 50/50 chance of inheriting this BRCA2 mutation. Women with the mutation, have a 60-70% risk to develop breast cancer. The BRCA2 gene raises the chance for ovarian cancer in women, aggressive prostate cancer in men and pancreatic cancer in both sexes. See our previous post about new targeted treatment options for cancer patients with a BRCA2 mutation.
Genetic testing for inherited cancer genes (such as BRCA1/2) can be done through a simple blood or saliva sample. Detecting a mutation allows people to be proactive about their health by finding cancer early or preventing it all together. Check out resources to ‘end the cycle of inherited cancer through research, education, and engagement’ at http://inheritedcancer.net/