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Ask an Expert: What You Need to Know about Mammograms

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Dr. Arthy Saravanan shares everything you need to know about mammograms.

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Dr. Arthy Saravanan is a breast-imaging specialist at ARA Diagnostic Imaging. With years of experience and an advanced fellowship in breast imaging, she is an expert at diagnosing breast cancer through the use of mammography, MRI and ultrasound.

Dr. Arthy Saravanan

Do mammograms save lives?

I think the key message that we try to convey during Breast Cancer Awareness Month is that starting annual mammograms at age 40 saves lives. It is also vital to get yearly screening mammograms after that. Many women are unaware that breast cancer is very common. In fact, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. About one woman will die every 13 minutes. What’s really startling is that many Austin women 40 and older have not started having their screening mammograms. The great news is that when detected early by a mammogram, 98 percent of women survive breast cancer. The emphasis is on early detection, which catches cancers when they are more treatable. It’s so important not to wait to have your mammogram. While it’s always challenging to fit another activity into our busy lives, I think if women were more informed about breast-cancer screenings, they would certainly make scheduling a mammogram a priority. According the American College of Radiology, women should start getting mammograms at the age of 40 and get screened yearly thereafter. If you have an increased risk or family history, your screenings might need to begin earlier.

What are some myths and facts about breast cancer?

I speak with a lot of patients who share their questions and doubts. There are a few common myths about breast cancer that I’d like to clear up.

Myth: Breast cancer doesn’t run in my family, so I don’t need to get mammograms.

Fact: Seventy-five percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.

Myth: If you don’t feel a lump in your breast, you don’t need a mammogram.

Fact: Mammograms can detect cancer several years before a lump can be felt.

Myth: I’ll never get breast cancer because my breasts are too small.

Fact: There is no evidence that breast size is linked to risk for breast cancer.

What should I expect from a mammogram?

Women often wonder when they come for their mammograms what the chances are that cancer will be found. Here’s what data tells us: For every 1,000 women who have a screening mammogram, 100 are recalled for further screening, 20 are recommended for biopsy and 5 are diagnosed with breast cancer.

What is 3D mammography?

ARA has completely invested in 3D mammography, an advanced technology that finds as much as 41 percent more cancer than traditional mammography. 3-D mammography is now the standard for excellence in mammography and it is available in 13 ARA locations. Everyone at ARA wants to make having a mammogram as easy as possible. ARA now offers online scheduling for mammograms and extended hours so you can come after work. Take care of your breast health. Schedule your mammogram online now!

Take care of your breast health. Schedule your mammogram online now: or call 512.453.6100.



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