COVID vaccination could skew mammogram results: What doctors say you should know

Doctors recommend waiting at least six weeks after the shot
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 6:32 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - If you’re getting your COVID-19 vaccine or a booster shot, you may want to hold off on getting a mammogram for at least six weeks.

The vaccination can cause the lymph nodes in the armpit to swell slightly. That can mean a patient will be called in for further testing, according to breast care specialists.

“It’s causing a lot of anxiety because people aren’t sure what’s going on,” said Dr. Lindsey Tuttle with the Carilion Breast Center. “I just want to say this is a normal reaction to the vaccine; it’s a sign that your body is forming those antibodies to the vaccine just as we want it do.”

The swelling is a typical reaction to many vaccinations, not just the COVID-19 shot, said Dr. Tuttle. It’s normal and it goes away on its own.

Dr. Tuttle stressed both a mammogram and the vaccine are important for women to stay healthy.

“I would not recommend delaying your mammogram. I would be thoughtful as far as how you’re scheduling your mammogram and your vaccine,” said Dr. Tuttle. “If you’re having your booster, wait six weeks to have your mammogram. If you have your mammogram scheduled, I would wait until you get your mammogram results back [to get the vaccine,] but both the vaccine and the mammogram are important things to do for your health.”

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