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COVID vaccine and mammograms: What you need to know

Updated: Mar. 29, 2021 at 8:08 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Many people put off medical tests and procedures waiting for the pandemic to be over or waiting to be vaccinated first. One test is best done before getting the vaccine.

Doctors want women to get their mammograms and their COVID shots, but it turns out that some women who get the vaccine before their mammogram wind up with what could look like a false positive. Radiologist Dr. Richard Martinez explains swollen lymph nodes are sometimes a side effect of the vaccine.

“We’re making sure that we know which patients were vaccinated relative to the time that they get their mammogram and which arm,” Dr. Martinez said. That helps us identify the patients who might be in that small group who have abnormal lymph nodes related to the vaccine.”

It’s better to get a mammogram before the vaccine, or, if possible, wait at least four weeks after the second shot. Otherwise, if swollen lymph nodes are there, Dr. Martinez says they may do some additional imaging.

“If all of those things are okay, we would bring that patient back in about three months, repeat the mammogram or ultrasound to check those lymph nodes. If the lymph nodes are swollen because of the vaccine, they should have returned to normal by that time.”

He recommends anyone with symptoms or new abnormalities consult with their doctor.

Click here for more on the issue of mammograms and the COVID vaccine.

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