Friday Frontline: Cancer Updates, Research and Education on October 4, 2019


From Matthew Knowles revealing a male breast cancer and BRCA2 diagnosis to a sarcoma survivor donating thousands of toys in lieu of birthday presents, here’s what is making headlines in the cancer space this week.

Beyoncé’s father, Matthew Knowles, revealed that he is battling breast cancer driven by a BRCA2 mutation.

In an interview with “Good Morning America,” the music executive described how he first started to see blood on his T-shirt, then his wife noticed it on the bedsheet. That’s when he went to the doctor and a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy confirmed it was stage 1a breast cancer.

He underwent surgery in July and also had genetic testing done to see if he carried the BRCA gene mutation, which he tested positive for, raising his risk of not only breast cancer, but also melanoma, prostate and pancreatic cancer. “I am going to get the second breast removed in January, because I want to do anything I can to reduce the risk,” Knowles said during the interview. “We use the words ‘cancer-free,’ but medically there’s no such thing as ‘cancer-free.’ There’s always a risk. My risk of a recurrence of breast cancer is less than 5%, and the removal of the other breast reduces it down to about 2%.”

The first call he made was to his kids and former wife. Each child has a 50/50 chance of inheriting a BRCA mutation from their parent. Knowles said he is speaking out to inspire other men to be open about male breast cancer.

A tradition at Boston Children’s Hospital took center stage this week as the hospital turned 150. The hospital looked back on a former patient who was treated for neuroblastoma at 2 years old. When Avery McAvoy was discharged, the nurses and caregivers held a bubble parade — something they do for all pediatric patients who are released.

Avery is now 6 years old and started first grade this year. She is still cancer-free.

People around the world are encouraged to “Lip Sync for Lymphoma.” The aunt of Kevin Siddall, who died after a six-month battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma at 14 years old, came up with the idea to raise money for research.

Those who wish to participate can record themselves lip synching their favorite song, then upload it to a website. They can then ask friends and family to vote for them, which costs one dollar. Participants can also challenge others to join in the fun.

The top 10 performers will battle it out on stage on Oct. 17.

A 5-year-old cancer survivor forgoes birthday presents to donate toys to other kids at the children’s hospital where he was treated.

Weston Newswanger received a rhabdomyosarcoma diagnosis in November 2016 and his mom said that toys became a big part of keeping him happy during treatment.

When she asked him what he wanted for his birthday he said, “I don’t want anything. I don’t need anything,” reported CNN.

Family and friends made his wish of giving dinosaurs and Play-Doh a reality by collecting more than 3,000 items. Newswanger and his mom delivered the toys on Tuesday to PennState Children’s Hospital.

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