Vaccines, Lumps, and Mammograms: What You Need to Know

 As the COVID-19 vaccine is now more widely available, and women return to their regular care and screenings, we have some guidance from our team of experts to help you through the process and reduce your concern about vaccination, and the possibility of developing enlarged lymph nodes disguising as lumps.

If you are due for a mammogram or have an urgent reason to get screened now, please do not delay! With safeguards in place, it is safe to get screened during COVID-19.       

    • The benefits of breast cancer screening and treatment far outweigh the risk of COVID-19 infection when public health measures are followed (i.e. wear a mask!)
    • With safeguards in place, a participant’s risk of contracting COVID-19 and dying is extremely low. Meanwhile, breast cancer remains a serious threat for all women- over 40,000 a year die every year in the US alone.
    • You can learn more about safely returning to care here. 

Experts at the WISDOM Study recommend you wait at least 6 weeks after the last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, before scheduling your mammogram. Swollen lymph nodes in your armpits are a known side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine. They are a good sign that your immune system is working.  However, if the swelling or lump persists more than 3 months, consult your physician.  If you have a new mass in the breast, consult your physician and get a mammogram.  Make sure to tell the radiologist which arm was used for your vaccine.

For more information, please watch this news segment featuring our very own Dr. Laura Esserman reporting on the matter.

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