COVID-19 VACCINE AND MAMMOGRAM RESULTS.
You might be saying “what do the two of these have in common” and be assured that there is no connection between the COVID-19 vaccine and breast cancer, but women should know how the shot might affect the results of their mammogram.
Lisa Mullen, MD, offers some perspective and can answer that question. The COVID-19 vaccine, like some other vaccinations, can cause a temporary enlargement of lymph nodes. This can cause your mammogram to appear abnormal even when you are okay and there is no indication of a malignancy.
However, enlarged lymph nodes can result in a “false positive” on your mammogram resulting in a request to return for further testing which can be unsettling, undue anxiety, confusion and inconvenience. The radiologist may request an ultrasound. Following that, the patient may need to follow up with another ultrasound in three months so it can be determined that the nodes have returned to normal size.
Dr. Mullen says, “Lymph nodes under the arm where a person has gotten a vaccine can become enlarged as part of the normal immune response to the vaccine.” The COVID-19 vaccine is a new type of vaccine and some people are reacting strongly to it.
The question was asked if the lymph node enlargement will become permanent but she responded “no”. The lymph nodes usually return to a normal size a few weeks after your vaccination regime is complete.
Dr. Mullen suggests that mammograms be scheduled before your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or four to six weeks after the second dose. That way, there is time for your nodes to return to their normal size. However, if you have any symptoms such as breast pain, a breast lump, or nipple discharge, consult your physician as soon as possible.
Following up on an abnormal mammogram is extremely important and the patient’s health is the priority. It’s better to be safe than sorry.