When to schedule your mammogram if you’re getting a COVID-19 vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine typically causes minimal side effects, such as arm soreness, muscle aches and tiredness. It can also cause temporarily swollen lymph nodes. Radiologist Amanda Scopteuolo, MD, explained why women might want to adjust the timing of their mammogram after getting the shot.
“Unless there is concern about a breast problem, women who have received a COVID-19 vaccine are advised to wait 4–6 weeks after their second dose before having a screening mammogram,” said Dr. Scopteuolo. “All vaccines, including COVID-19, can cause temporarily enlarged lymph nodes in a woman’s armpits. If this is seen on a mammogram, radiologists will recommend follow-up imaging.”
Why are the lymph nodes enlarged after a vaccine?
Lymph nodes are part of the body’s immune system. They filter fluid and help the body fight infection. Since lymph nodes are part of the immune system, they can swell as part of your body’s immune response. This is a normal response to a vaccine and varies from person to person.
When should you proceed with getting your mammogram?
“I do not recommend delaying your mammogram if you are having any symptoms or if your doctor recommends that you have one,” said Dr. Scopteuolo. “If you feel a lump in your breast or have a problem, you should not delay your mammogram, even if you recently received the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Why is it important to keep your mammogram appointment, even during a pandemic?
Dr. Scopteuolo said breast cancer has an excellent survival rate when caught early. “Early detection is key. We have increased our cleaning practices and social distancing procedures to make your experience as safe as possible,” she said.
If you have any questions or concerns about the timing of your mammogram and COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your doctor.