COVID-19 Vaccine Could Confuse Mammogram Results, Doctors Say

Doctors see several women who have mammograms with the same problem and that is cause for concern.

Patients have swollen lymph nodes, which is a rare sign of breast cancer.

“When we see that, we are encouraged and concerned,” said Dr. Lars Grimm of Duke Health.

Doctors are now learning that this is caused by women who recently received the COVID-19 vaccine.

The lymph nodes will be swollen on the side of the body where the person received the injection.

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“That’s a good thing, right, because that means the vaccine is working. Your body is responding. You’re having that immune reaction,” Grimm said.

However, the side effect is that those lumps will show up on a mammogram and give a false reading for breast cancer.

Grimm says that women just need to do a little planning.

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Get a mammogram before the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine or four to six weeks after the second injection.

Grimm says the recommended schedule is the same whether you get the Moderna or Pzifer vaccine.

The last thing doctors want is for women to cancel all their mammograms, which often happened in 2020.

“We are concerned that women will skip two years, and we know that when we screen regularly, we detect breast cancer at the earliest stage possible. Unfortunately, breast cancer is so common that it is really important for women to stay on top of these health maintenance stuff and don’t let it get away, “Grimm said.

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The American Cancer Society suggests that women ages 45 to 54 get screened annually. Women 55 and older, in good health, can change every two years.

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