Courtesy of Dr.Connie Lehman and CNN. Photo of Mammogram with diagnosed lymph node

Swelling due to COVID-19 vaccine, raising questions of mammogram results

With Covid-19 cases still on a rise, demand for the vaccine is increasing.  Johnson & Johnson recently announced their distribution plan, making them the 3rd major company to now be administering the vaccine. 

The Biden administration is hopeful that most adults in the U.S. will have gotten their shots by the end of May.

Fear for the Coronavirus and its vaccination is well within the rights of consumers due to side effects that appear shortly after, including swollen lymph nodes.

Lymph nodes, also known as lymph glands, tend to increase in size when the body is trying to fight foreign bacterias or viruses.

Radiologists are becoming more concerned when examining patients who have recently received the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly women with preventative care appointments. 

Professionals are noticing when asking screening questions patients are revealing they’ve had doses of the vaccine within weeks of their visit. Any seen lymph nodes appear to be on the same side in which the shot was issued.


“I cannot tell you how many women are showing nodes on mammograms and people thought it was going to be not that common,” said Dr. Connie Lehman, professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School.


This isn’t by any means to discourage patients from wanting further testing, such as biopsies but they should be aware of the possibility of negative results. 


“There have been some false scares and some unnecessary biopsies because people didn’t think to ask, and they assume that the node was the cancer coming back,” Lehman said.


Society of Breast Imaging suggests that women scheduled for routine doctor’s appointments prior to receiving their Covid-19 vaccine. Those who have already received their shot should wait 4-6 weeks from the 2nd dosage before following up with their physicians. 

Mammograms are essential in detecting cancer early on. Experts emphasize the importance of missing this form of testing can result in further stages of the disease that are less treatable.

Sources: CNN, MayoClinic, SBI-Online

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