LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Women who recently got the COVID vaccine are being told it could affect their mammogram results.
Dr. Jason McKellop, the Medical Director of Breastlink Imaging Centers, showed a mammogram belonging to a woman five days after she got the COVID vaccine.READ MORE: LA County To Expand Access To Coronavirus Vaccine To More Essential Workers Starting Monday
“On the left side of that patient you can see enlarged lymph nodes or swollen lymph nodes as compared to the right, and that patient was a couple of days removed from the Covid vaccination,” said McKellop.
He says his patient got the shot in her left arm, which is why her left side was affected. The purpose of the COVID vaccine is to instigate an immune response by the body.
“The swelling of the lymph nodes is a representation of that battle being fought and your body’s immune responses weaponizing itself against that foreign entity,” McKellop said.
Because swollen lymph nodes can be a sign of breast cancer, the Society of Breast Imaging is advising women to get their annual mammograms either before they get the vaccine, or wait until four to six weeks after.READ MORE: Meet The Giltinis: LA's New Rugby Team to Open Play At Coliseum March 20
When asked how many patients have been seen who got the vaccine and have exhibited swollen lymph nodes, McKellop said, “So I have seen between five and seven cases in the past couple weeks.”
According to the CDC, more than 11 percent of those who have had their first dose of the vaccine experience swollen lymph nodes. That number increases to 16 percent after the second dose.
McKellop says he is seeing this side effect with both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, but it isn’t a cause for concern.
“If there is one thing I can reassure all patients, it’s that this is the body’s normal reaction, and it’s actually doing its thing in terms of mounting a defense to the vaccination and ultimately to the COVID virus,” he said.MORE NEWS: High Winds Expected To Continue Through Sunday For Parts Of SoCal
Many women put off their mammograms during the shutdown, so the doctor says if women are long overdue for one, don’t delay it, just make sure you inform your provider that you recently got the vaccine.