Doctor Arthy Saravanan Discusses the Importance of Mammograms


Anchor: Welcome back to We Are Austin. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Doctor Arthy Saravanan with ARA Diagnostic Imaging is going to help us separate fact from myth when it comes to mammograms. We’re really glad to have you here.

Doctor Saravanan: Thank you.

Anchor: This is such an important topic and there are a lot of myths that we want to help dispel so people are super educated. What is the key message that you want to pass along today?

Doctor Saravanan: Well, breast cancer awareness month is really crucial in helping to raise the awareness of the importance of having screening mammograms for women over the age of 40.

Anchor: Yeah.

Doctor Saravanan: One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and one dies every thirteen minutes of breast cancer.

Anchor: My goodness.

Dr. Saravanan: Getting screening mammograms and early detection does save lives. What’s alarming is that many women in Austin over the age of 40 don’t have their mammograms scheduled as yet.

Anchor: Oh wow. Why do you think that is that people are putting off scheduling?

Doctor Saravanan: Well, in our busy lives it’s just hard to make time for our own health, but we try to make it easy at ARA. We have over twelve locations across central Austin. You can go in and out of our clinics in under thirty minutes, we have simple online scheduling, and it makes it relatively easy with the online system.

Anchor: It’s good to know you have a lot of locations that are convenient for people, and in and out in thirty minutes, I mean, you can take your lunch break and go there.

Doctor Saravanan: Absolutely.

Anchor: It’s your health, right?

Doctor Saravanan: That’s right. We’re open pretty late, until 11pm, so you can even go after work.

Anchor: Oh wow. So, you accommodate lots of different schedules and lifestyles.

Doctor Saravanan: Absolutely.

Anchor: That’s good to know. Okay, let’s jump into some of these myths. What are some of the myths that you see or hear people talk about?

Doctor Saravanan: Well, one of the myths I’ve heard is that women believe if they don’t feel a lump in their breasts then they don’t need to have a mammogram. Actually, more than 75% of women, especially, don’t have any known family history and also with their new 3D tomosynthesis technology, we can detect breast cancer very early, sometimes years before a lump can actually be felt by the patient.

Anchor: Oh wow.

Doctor Saravanan: One of the other myths is that women are afraid of the increased radiation dose that a mammogram can give. The reality is that the benefits of early detection of breast cancer far outweighs this tiny radiation dose by the mammogram.

Anchor: Yeah, I’m sure that’s a topic that a lot of people think about when considering going in for a mammogram. What else? What are some other myths?

Doctor Saravanan: One of the other ones I spoke about is that women believe if they don’t have a family history then they don’t need to get a mammogram. Over 75% of breast cancer is actually diagnosed in women who have no known family history.

Anchor: Okay, that’s really important. So, what about dense breast? Can you talk about that for a little bit?

Doctor Saravanan: Dense breast tissue is actually very common and it’s normal. It just means that women have more connective and glandular tissue in her breast, as opposed to fatty tissue. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it increases your risk of breast cancer, but it does make it slightly harder to detect breast cancer on mammograms. So, sometimes we advise that these women can have additional screenings with ultrasound or MRI. When you get a mammogram at ARA, we actually assess the density of your breast tissue and we include it in the letter that we give to you. So this way you can have a conversation with your doctor about additional screening.

Anchor: That’s really helpful to have that comprehensive amount of information about your health at that moment.

Doctor Saravanan: Right.

Anchor: So, let’s kind of break it down for people. When should people start getting mammograms and being proactive?

Doctor Saravanan: So, the American College of Radiology recommends that women start getting mammograms at the age of 40 and yearly thereafter. Your chances of breast cancer actually significantly increases over the age of 40. In fact, your risk triples as opposed to your risk at the age of 30. Especially if you have a family history, you may qualify for the high-risk program and you may need to get screening pretty early on. Your doctor may want to do some additional testing for genetic factors or mutations and your screening may start as early as 30 or even younger sometimes.

Anchor: Okay, so that’s really important to know. What’s some other information you think we should consider today as we talk about such an important topic?

Doctor Saravanan: Well, I think with just having the dense breast that we spoke about and the risk factors, it’s important to consider and know the importance of having a mammogram and this early detection. You know, there’s a lot of false information about breast cancer out there, and we just want to make sure that we have the facts from the myths and that you understand the importance of having a mammogram.

Anchor: Yeah, you guys are doing a great job spreading that through the community. So, where can people go? I know you mentioned twelve locations. What’s the best way to find you guys?

Doctor Saravanan: That’s right. Yeah,, you can go online like I mentioned. Online scheduling is very simple.

Anchor: Yeah.

Doctor Saravanan: And our breast care team would be happy to help you with that.

Anchor: Yes, you make it really doable. Thanks so much for being here and for the work you guys do every day. We really appreciate you.

Doctor Saravanan: Thank you, it’s my pleasure.

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