Current News

/

ArcaMax

Recently vaccinated women should wait to get mammograms, doctors advise

Robyn Sidersky, The Virginian-Pilot on

Published in News & Features

NORFOLK, Va. — New medical guidance recommends that women should avoid scheduling mammograms around the time they receive COVID-19 vaccinations because the shots cause lymph nodes to swell, falsely mimicking a warning sign of breast cancer.

The guidance, from the Society of Breast Imaging, suggests that women get mammograms before their first COVID-19 vaccine shot or four to six weeks after their second dose.

Doctors noticed that a number of women being called back for further screening because of swollen lymph nodes had recently received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The women would feel the swollen lymph nodes after their COVID-19 vaccines, go to their doctor, and undergo additional testing to rule out breast cancer, said Dr. Keith Newbrough, a breast cancer radiologist with the Sentara Cancer Network and Hampton Roads Radiology Associates.

If women wait at least a month after their second vaccine shot, their lymph nodes will have time to return to normal.

However, if it will be months down the road until they can get a mammogram, it’s best to go ahead and get it done anyway, Newbrough said.

 

Swollen lymph nodes are typically discovered in two ways. They can be large or tender enough that someone would feel a mass under their arms, or doctors can spot them in mammograms.

If you feel a mass, even if you’ve had the vaccine recently, let your doctor know, so they can decide the best approach.

If any woman has any other breast problems or symptoms, she should still get her mammogram, Newbrough said.

Enlarged lymph nodes are not unusual for vaccinations, so it shouldn’t scare people away from getting the vaccine, Newbrough said. The symptom is just happening to a greater extent with the COVID-19 vaccines.

———

©2021 The Virginian-Pilot. Visit at pilotonline.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.