Mammograms & COVID-19 vaccine

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As more people prepare to receive their COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important to keep in mind certain upcoming health screenings such as a mammogram.

As the much anticipated COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to more people, doctors are hopeful.
But it’s important to keep in mind the vaccine, like others, can cause an immune system response that could impact other health screenings such as a mammogram for a short time.

“Many of the COVID vaccines are particularly effective. And what that means is if you get a COVID shot, there’s a really good chance that the lymph nodes in your armpit on that side are going to be showing that immune response by getting a little bit bigger. Sometimes we can see that on a screening mammogram,” Dr. Chris Johansen said.

Dr. Chris Johansen says that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but people with more prominent responses could be asked to come back for further testing to be sure it’s a result of the vaccine.
But there are things you can do to lower your risk of swollen lymph nodes as a result of the vaccine appearing during your mammogram.

“If you can have your mammogram scheduled either a little bit early or a little bit later than it usually would be to avoid the time of the vaccine and the few weeks afterwards, when you’re most likely to have the most prominent part of your immune response, that’s not a bad idea,” Johansen said.

What’s important to note is that this advice is meant for screening mammograms, or those people who don’t have symptoms of breast cancer. If you do have symptoms, he says it’s important to be screened regardless of the timing of your COVID vaccine.

“The most important thing to know is that you’re doing the right thing. You’re getting these important medical studies done. If you get both of them, you’re way ahead of the game. That’s great. If we can time them to be as perfect as possible, wonderful. But just make sure you’re getting them both done and make sure you don’t not do one of them out of concern for the timing,” Johansen said.

If you’d like to read more about the COVID-19 vaccine and mammograms, click here.

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