How the COVID-19 vaccine might affect your mammogram

Timing your vaccine & mammogram
Timing your vaccine & mammogram

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the COVID-19 vaccine can cause swollen lymph nodes and potentially affect the results of a mammogram.

“We know that some patients, a small subset, when they get their vaccine will actually have enlarged lymph nodes related to the normal immune response to the vaccine that can show up under their arms or even sometimes in their neck,” explained Dr. Diane Johnson, Director of Breast Imaging at Memorial Hospital. “When that happens, it is possible that those lymph nodes will show up on their screening mammogram.”

Johnson recommends scheduling a mammogram before getting the vaccine or if possible, wait four to six weeks after you get the shot. She also suggests telling the health care staff if you got the shot in your left or right arm.

“Let them know that you got the vaccine, let them know when you got it and which arm it was in,” explained Johnson. “What will happen is they will record that information which will get passed along to the radiologist that can use that information when they interpret your mammogram.”

Johnson explained how to tell if the swollen lymph node is from the vaccine or a sign of breast cancer.

”If you develop a painful, swollen lymph node under your arm within a few days after getting the vaccine, it’s probably related to the vaccine,” said Johnson. “If you, on the other hand, notice lymph nodes that came up in the absence of having the vaccine, maybe increasing overtime, it may or may not be painful, that is certainly a symptom that you will want to talk to your doctor about.”

During an appearance on The Morning Show, Johnson stressed the importance of seeing your doctor if you notice symptoms like a lump, skin changes or nipple discharge.


About the Author: