Doctors advise on timing of mammograms and COVID-19 vaccine
Doctors have noticed COVID-19 vaccines causing benign enlarged lymph nodes that showed up during mammograms and suggested that women postpone their regular mammograms for several weeks after being vaccinated if they have no symptoms of breast cancer. .
“These lymph nodes are a normal enlargement reaction, as opposed to cancer developing in the lymph node, which would be an abnormal reason for the lymph node to be enlarged,” said Dr Thomas Buchholz, medical director of the Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center and a resident of Rancho Santa Fe.
The side effect is harmless and poses no risk of breast cancer to women who receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but Buchholz said that “it just gives a more difficult interpretation of the mammogram.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines caused the enlargement of the axillary lymph nodes, located near the armpit, on the side where the vaccine is injected, according to Scripps. It is not yet known whether the Johnson & Johnson vaccines cause the same side effect.
“It is the normal immune reaction which can lead to enlargement of the lymph nodes, like if you have strep throat, you might find that while the strep throat is healing, you might have swollen lymph nodes in the head and neck area, ”said Buchholz mentioned.
Another possible solution is for women to schedule their regular mammograms before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Everyone also wants to have access to the COVID vaccine as soon as possible,” Buchholz said. “So if you get the COVID vaccination and you’re scheduled for a mammogram next week, you should probably postpone it, we recommend, around six weeks, enough time for the lymph nodes to renormalize in size. “
He added that “if anyone has a breast abnormality, it needs to be fixed immediately.”
Nearly 800,000 residents of San Diego County were vaccinated in mid-March, according to county health data.