Published on April 6, 2021
Read Time: Two Minutes
Getting your COVID-19 vaccine is recommended to help you stay healthy. So are mammograms, which are X-rays that doctors use to look for signs of breast cancer.
However, if you are scheduled to have a mammogram shortly after receiving the COVID-19 shot, you may want to consider rescheduling one of your appointments.
Some patients have reported swollen lymph nodes in their armpit after being vaccinated. Enlarged lymph nodes are a normal sign of a person’s immune response to vaccines.
Swollen lymph nodes also may be a warning sign of breast cancer, though.
Bruce Hedgepath, MD, a radiologist with the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, based at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, which provides medical imaging services at Phelps Health, says timing your mammogram and COVID-19 vaccine appointment is important.
“This can help distinguish between swollen lymph nodes from the vaccine or from more serious causes that could be related to cancer,” Dr. Hedgepath said.
The Phelps Health Comprehensive Breast Center care team are asking women, if possible, to schedule their routine or annual screening mammogram before their first COVID-19 vaccine dose or four to six weeks after their second dose.
“If a vaccination appointment is scheduled, you should continue to keep the appointment and consider rescheduling the screening mammogram,” Dr. Hedgepath said.
If patients can’t reschedule or are significantly overdue for a mammogram, they should keep their mammogram appointment.
During patients’ mammograms, they may be asked about their COVID-19 vaccine history and timing as well as which arm they received the shot.
If swelling is noticed in the armpit or breast of patients, they may be asked to come back for more testing, in some cases.
Schedule Your Mammogram
Mammograms can save lives. Schedule your mammogram with the Comprehensive Breast Center today.