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New guidance says scheduling COVID-19 vaccine and mammogram will take some coordination

Breast Cancer Screening
Posted at 5:19 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 17:48:18-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — There is new guidance out for men and women who may be getting screening mammograms after studies have found inflammation of lymph nodes due to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Stephen Edge is a professor of surgery at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine as well as a breast surgeon and professor of Oncology at Roswell Park.

He spoke to 7 Eyewitness News about the significance of the new findings and said this is not uncommon with any vaccine.

“There’s inflammation that can be associated with the lymph nodes in the area that you’ve had the vaccine or any other inflammation can become enlarged. That’s partly how they work.”

He said it’s important to stress the COVID-19 vaccine does not cause breast cancer or any foreign growth in the body. The Society of Breast Imaging released guidance that said the inflammation is lasting about two to four days post vaccine.

With the Moderna Vaccine, the study showed 11% of people saw lymph node enlargement after the first dose and 16% saw it after the second.

Dr. Edge said it’s something technicians are now on the lookout for.

“Mammographers will be attuned to it and patients should be aware of this,” he said.

The recommendation is to try to coordinate you mammogram and vaccine appointments, if possible.

SBI says try to get your mammogram before you get the vaccine or four to six weeks after your second dose.

But the most important piece of advice from Dr. Edge is to not delay getting your vaccine due to worry over false imaging.

“We don’t want people delaying getting the vaccine. If you have an opportunity to get the coronavirus vaccine, by all means take advantage of it.”

Also worth noting -- this guidance only refers to routine screening. If you feel any lumps that need evaluation do schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

You can read its full guidance here.