Can COVID-19 vaccines affect mammogram results?
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’ve been hearing for several months now that COVID-19 vaccines are one of the best ways to protect ourselves from the virus.
But some women are noticing small lumps in their necks and armpits after receiving them rushing to doctors to get mammograms.
Doctors said there is no connection between the COVID-19 shots and breast cancer, but they said COVID vaccines - like some other vaccines - can cause your lymph nodes to swell temporarily causing your mammogram to appear abnormal.
Health experts continue to stress the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
At the same time, doctors said mammograms are necessary to catch breast cancer early.
But getting the COVID-19 shot can cause temporary lymph node enlargement and result in a “false positive” mammogram.
“If you have an injection in the arm, the lymph node drainage of the arm is in the axilla and in the breast area as well. So, it stands to reason then that if somebody sometime after they get…especially their second dose of MRNA vaccine, get a mammogram that they may have an abnormal mammogram, which I think would be caused by an increased swelling lymph node,” said Director of the Alabama Vaccine Research Clinic, Dr. Paul Goepfert.
He said that swelling is a normal immune response and can happen with other vaccines as well.
“Your immune system says, ‘Hey, this is abnormal. I’m going to take this thing to the lymph nodes.’ What it does then is it looks at this and says, ‘OK, what is this? What can we do to fight against it?’ And so, the lymph node then, which is the Army command center, then swells up because you have a bunch of new Army men, or in this case, B and T cells,” Dr. Goepfert explained.
He added that your lymph nodes should return to normal size within a few weeks of your vaccination.
Health experts recommend scheduling your mammogram before your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or at least four weeks after your second shot, which should be enough time for your lymph nodes to return to their normal size.
They said this is no reason to delay receiving the vaccine or a mammogram.
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