The Importance of Annual Mammograms

Dr. Arthy Saravanan, a breast radiologist with ARA Diagnostic Imaging, shares important information about the importance of getting an annual mammogram with KEYE-TV’s Trevor Scott on CBS Austin’s ‘We Are Austin.’

(Trevor Scott) Welcome back to “We Are Austin.”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So today, we are talking with Dr. Arthy Saravanan from the head of the breast imaging section at ARA Diagnostic Imaging, about the importance of getting an annual mammogram, which is so very important.

Good morning to you. Welcome back to the studio after a long time away.

(Dr. Arthy Saravanan)  Thank you. Good morning.

(Trevor) We’re glad to have you. Good morning to you too. This is such an important conversation to have, this month especially, but all year long.

Dr. Saravanan, I actually have a picture here that I wanna show everybody. And this proves that you have a remarkable commitment to encouraging women to get their mammograms. Can you tell us what we’re seeing here?

(Dr. Saravanan) Yes, so basically, I just wanted to show my passion for breast cancer awareness and mammography. So I thought, what better way than to change the color of my car to pink?

(Trevor laughs)

So I figured, you know, when I’m driving around town, women will be encouraged to get their mammograms, and it’ll be a reminder to them.

(Trevor) I think that is such a great idea. And you’re right. It could be just that little reminder somebody needs during the busy day to see the pink car and think, “Oh wait, oh, that’s right, oh, I need to do that.” That’s so, so smart.

What would you say though, Is really the most important thing that women should know about breast cancer and getting their screening mammogram?

(Dr. Saravanan) Well, I think one of the most important points is that breast cancer is most survivable today

(Trevor) Good news.

(Dr. Saravanan) And the reason for that is because of early detection. You know, with our advanced technology, we can detect cancer now years before it can even be felt by the patient. And the key, again, is early detection.

(Trevor) That really is so important, and that is very encouraging news to hear, in fact. And what is the chance, though that a woman will get breast cancer in her lifetime?

(Dr. Saravanan) One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The great news, though, is that more than 98% of these cancers are survivable now. And the key, again, is because of early detection by mammography.

(Trevor) That is a startling and kind of a sobering statistic, though to know that it is real out there and something people should be thinking about.

Tell us about mammography at ARA and the process there and what makes it special, as you do things there, all things, so well, how is the mammography program there?

(Dr. Saravanan) Yeah, at ARA, really focus on women’s health, and we really wanna guide you through your journey with your healthcare, especially being a woman. You know, we try to integrate emerging artificial intelligence with the expertise of our breast radiologist to provide accurate diagnoses.

We start off with your yearly screening mammogram, but we guide you through if you need any additional imaging like ultrasounds, MRIs, and even minimally invasive procedures.

And we really walk you through your entire healthcare journey, starting from that mammogram, your very first mammogram, all the way through to any further imaging studies you might need.

(Trevor) That’s great to know, especially because it can be an intimidating process. There could be some fear or anxiety involved, and I love how you kind of walk through that journey with people, hand in hand, letting them know that things will be well.

So when should women actually start thinking about getting those yearly screening mammograms?

(Dr. Saravanan) Yeah, you know, according to the American College of Radiology, women should start getting screening mammograms at the age of 40 and yearly thereafter.

Now, sometimes, if you are high risk or you have a family history of breast cancer, I recommend you speak to your doctor so that your doctor may, you know, recommend additional genetic testing, for instance. And you might need to get a mammogram even earlier, sometimes as early as 30.

(Trevor) That’s great information to know, for sure. Now, we know that not all women do take advantage of this opportunity, and they don’t all get mammograms. Why do you think that is?

(Dr. Saravanan) You know, sometimes it’s hard to prioritize our own health, especially with our busy lives. But, you know, we do try to make it as easy as possible at ARA. You can be in and out in under 30 minutes. We have 14 mammography locations across central Texas. So, you know, hopefully, there is one close to your work or home. We also have extended hours. So we’re open from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM. And we’re also open on the weekends. So, you know, you can get your mammograms and schedule, you know, either before or after work sometimes.

But, you know, as women, I think it is hard to prioritize our health. We do take care of our family, we work hard, but I think getting a mammogram is essential and a very integral part in self-care.

(Trevor) Absolutely, and kind of removing some of those barriers that women may have to getting that important screening is so great that ARA does that. Some women might be worried about getting a mammogram. Can you talk about that?

(Dr. Saravanan) Yeah, I mean, it is scary to get a mammogram, especially looking at all the statistics and stuff. But remember that more than 98% of breast cancers are survivable, especially when they’re detected early by mammography.

(Trevor) What is the actual chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer with your screening mammogram?

(Dr. Saravanan) So out of 1,000 women who get screened in terms of mammography, we recall 100 back for additional imaging. Out of those 100 that are called back, 20 will be recommended to have a biopsy, and out of those 20, 5 will actually be diagnosed with breast cancer. So that’s a 0.5% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer. A very small percentage, but so important if you fall in that percentage.

(Trevor) It is so very important. Okay, well, these have all been a ton of great reasons to schedule your mammogram at home. How can someone book with ARA and get this done?

(Dr. Saravanan) So you can go ahead and schedule by calling the number on the screen?

(Trevor) Excellent.

This has been a lovely conversation, an important one. No doubt, a life-saving one. Dr. Saravanan, thank you for joining us today and a shining some light on this, not only during October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month but all year long. Thanks for being here.

(Dr. Saravanan) My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

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