COVID-19 Vaccines and Screening Mammograms Results
o Women should not panic if inflamed armpit lymph nodes appear after the COVID 19 vaccine, experts say.
COVID-19 vaccines are known to trigger a strong immune response against the COVID-19 virus. Often people feel swollen or tender lymph nodes within the armpit area post covid vaccination. This is usually a very good sign that the immune response is as expected and that the body’s immune system has the appropriate response against the virus. But what happens if you have a mammogram scheduled right after your COVID-19 vaccine?
Dr. Taghreed Almahmeed, Consultant Breast Surgeon sheds light on potential misleading mammogram results post COVID-19 vaccination. This has been published in recent international publications such as the American Journal of Roentgenology and Journal of the American College of Radiology.
These journals amongst others have published that women may develop swollen lymph nodes in those who took the COVID-19 vaccine and can be identified on mammograms 1 to 6 weeks after the vaccine has been taken. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast and two views are taken of each breast. Mammograms are crucial for breast cancer screening and sometimes breast cancer can present just as a swollen lymph node. Therefore, COVID-19 vaccination history should be considered before interpreting these mammogram findings.
“I have seen many female patients coming in worried with pain and light swelling in the under arm post the Covid 19 vaccination. The same symptoms can be found in breast cancer, so naturally the patients were very worried. However, after taking a full history, and carrying out the appropriate investigations and proceeding with the follow up in 2 to 3 months, the results were back to normal. We fully encourage people to get vaccinated and incase they experience the below symptoms they should not panic but rather visit a doctor to ensue everything is ok.” – Dr. Taghreed Almahmeed Consultant Breast Surgeon at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend a new management approach for choosing the right time to schedule mammograms. Although mammograms are very important and in many cases should not be delayed, if there is no known risk or concern of breast cancer, it is recommended that patients should postpone their mammograms for 6 weeks after the 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or schedule the mammogram before the COVID-19 vaccination. If lymph nodes are swollen on mammogram it is advisable to have an ultrasound 2 to 3 months later to make sure that the lymph node swelling is going away