• Susan Mitchell

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Updated: May 27


While October may be painted pink to signify Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at Athari Bio, breast cancer is top of mind around the clock: Our scientific researchers and lab resources are dedicated to having a molecular laboratory developed test (LDT) for breast cancer genetic early detection available to the public by 2022.


About 43,600 American women will die from breast cancer this year. The overall death rate from breast cancer decreased by 1% per year from 2013 to 2018. These decreases are thought to be the result of treatment advances and earlier detection through screening — and we can do better.


While many of us reflect on the loss of friends and loved ones to breast cancer, our Chief Operations and Science Officer, Javed Siddiqi, PhD has spent much of his career focused on cancer research and advancing breast cancer early detection. At Lombardi Cancer Research Center at Georgetown University, Dr. Siddiqi identified a novel gene which prevents a group of cancer patients from radiation therapy. While completing his postdoctoral fellowship at MIT and Harvard Medical School, he isolated a novel gene for early detection of breast cancer. This gene/protein (DF3-CEA) is shed in any body fluid such as milk, urine, and saliva, and has the capacity to be readily used in testing in order to save lives of our mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters today.

At Athari, we believe in a future where there is gender equity in healthcare, research, and preventative solutions. Athari's founder, Susan Mitchell, is a female biotech entrepreneur who is steering progress for cancer diagnostics for women. From leadership to the lab and clinician to patient, representation is the path to equity. We’re working to ensure that women in STEM and women's health, which have long been under tapped and overlooked, are at the forefront in our leadership and research.


Know the Facts

  • About 1 in 8 US women develop breast cancer.

  • For women in the US, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer, besides lung cancer.

  • Breast cancer became the most common cancer globally in 2021, accounting for 12% of all new annual cancer cases.

  • In women under 45, breast cancer is more common in Black women than white women. Overall, Black women are more likely to die of breast cancer.

  • A woman’s risk of breast cancer nearly doubles if she has a first-degree relative (mother, sister, daughter) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • About 5–10% of breast cancers can be linked to known gene mutations inherited from parents. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are the most common.

  • About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that happen as a result of the aging process and life in general, rather than inherited mutations.

Stats credited to — and learn more — at BreastCancer.org

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