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COVID-19 Vaccine and Screening Mammograms

COVID-19 Vaccine and Screening Mammograms

It is important to understand that there is no increased risk or association of breast cancer with COVID-19 vaccination. We encourage everyone who is eligible for vaccination to receive the vaccine at the earliest date available for their own protection and for the benefit of our community to achieve herd immunity. We also encourage women to continue annual breast cancer screening with mammography to detect cancer at the earliest stage possible.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine affect my mammogram?

Vaccination with COVID-19 may result in temporary swollen axillary (armpit) lymph nodes in some people. That is a physiologic response showing that the vaccine is working in the body. Swollen lymph nodes can also be seen as a sign of cancer. When swollen nodes are seen on a mammogram, it may result in additional testing for the patient. Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, the Society of Breast Imaging recommends that, if it does not unduly delay care, women consider scheduling screening exams prior to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or 4 to 6 weeks following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. Screening for breast cancer is extremely important for health maintenance, and we do not wish to prevent or delay care for anyone. For those who do not yet have a mammogram scheduled you may consider following the Society of Breast Imaging recommendation.

If you need to schedule a mammogram for any breast issue, such as a lump, swelling or nipple discharge, call you doctor immediately to be scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram.

Should I reschedule my mammogram if it is less than 4 weeks after my COVID vaccination?

You do not necessarily need to reschedule your mammogram. It is important to continue annual screening mammograms to detect breast cancer as early as possible. We now have more experience in recognizing swollen lymph nodes associated with COVID-19 vaccination and to manage that side effect in a safe manner. When you do go to your appointment, it is important to let the mammography technologist know when you had the vaccination and in which arm it was administered. This information will be provided to the physician interpreting your mammogram.