COVID vaccine throwing off mammogram results, but 'don't skip it', says doc

There is concern that a side effect from the COVID-19 vaccine could be mistaken for breast cancer in women.

Health experts have found the vaccine to alter mammogram results in some women. Despite the uncommon results, they warn women should not wait to get screened for breast cancer.

"It's not very common but some women can have enlarged lymph nodes on the same side of where they've got the vaccine and that can sometimes throw off some mammogram results," said Dr. Purvi Parikh, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and Immunology at NYU Langone.

Enlarged lymph nodes is a known side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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Dr. Parikh recommends anyone needing a mammogram get it before they receive the COVID -19 vaccine or wait four to six weeks after the second dose. However, some women are advised not to delay their screening.

"Don't skip it. If you're a high-risk individual with symptoms that are concerning just let your doctor know so they have the background of it," said Dr. Parikh.

While lymph node swelling is rare, it's important that women let their doctor know that they've been vaccinated prior to the mammogram.

"Many times it's more so after the second shot that you get it because people tend to react more to the second shot," said Dr. Parikh.