DENVER (CBS4) – Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a relief for most people, but some women are discovering a concerning side effect of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The vaccine can cause the lymph nodes to swell and this can reflect the signs of breast cancer.
Even a radiologist who specializes in breast imaging was alarmed.
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“I panicked, I admit it, initially,” said Dr. Bridget Rogers, a radiologist at Solis Mammography.
Did you know that swollen lymph nodes could be a sign of breast cancer. So in early January, I was alarmed.
“I had a large, visible, painful lump,” she told CBS4 health specialist Kathy Walsh.
The day before, Rogers received his second injection of COVID-19, the Pfizer vaccine. He knew that a possible side effect was enlarged lymph nodes.
“I tried to reassure myself by remembering that this is actually a sign that the vaccine was doing what it was supposed to do, activating his immune system,” he said.
Rogers admits he took a look with an ultrasound.
“It’s always different to be on the patient side of the experience,” he said. “It was a sigh of relief on the second day when it started to get better rather than worse.”
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Rogers is not alone. He showed CBS4 mammograms from another doctor who had received a vaccination.
“So this is last year. These are the lymph nodes that got bigger this year. “
“I’ve been trying to warn women ahead of time,” said Dr. Stephanie Miller, a breast surgeon and medical director of the Breast Program at Rose Medical Center.
“We don’t want to prevent anyone from being part of the vaccine process,” Miller said.
He said that breast cancer has not slowed down during the pandemic. She tells women to get their mammograms and to let the mammography center know if she has recently had a vaccination.
“So that we can have the correct explanation of what we are seeing,” he said.
Miller said delaying mammograms this year has had consequences.
“Women are developing and getting breast cancer a little later in the game, and we want to minimize that as much as possible,” Miller said.
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She doesn’t want women to panic. Your message is to get the COVID-19 vaccine and a mammogram, both of which are important to your health.