ASK THE EXPERT: COVID-19 Vaccine ‘False Positives’ on Mammograms

Local News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Swelling after Covid-19 shots may set off cancer “false alarms”.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7 News’ Taylor Murray spoke with a women’s health physician to find out how mammograms might be impacted and what you should do if you have one scheduled post-vaccination.

“About 16% of women will get these lymph nodes swollen about two to four days after their second injection.”

Dr. Samy Iskandar / OBGYN, Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Sometimes lymph nodes, especially in the armpit, swell after the vaccinations.

This could be mistaken for cancer if it shows up on a mammogram.

Dr. Samy Iskandar, an obstetrician-gynecologist, says this is a normal reaction by the immune system.

“Its very, very common and again each person responds differently.”

To avoid a false positive mammogram, he recommends to schedule the breast exam first and the vaccine second.

“We would like you to avoid the extra testing and avoid the extra anxiety and stress and potential misdiagnosis.”

If you have already received the one-dose vaccination or started your Covid-19 vaccine series, then you may want to wait to get your mammogram.

“If it’s clinically safe to wait, we recommend that you wait four to six weeks after your second vaccine, before getting your mammogram.”

Dr. Samy Iskandar / OBGYN, Bon Secours St. Francis Health

Swollen lymph nodes from the Covid-19 vaccine are a temporary side effect. However, if they did show up on your mammogram, the Society of Breast Imaging has a recommendation…

“Consider getting an ultrasound two to three months afterwards, instead of going straight to biopsy, because if it’s from the vaccine, it will resolve itself.”

Dr. Iskandar says its very important to tell your doctor when you got the Covid-19 vaccine to avoid any unnecessary tests or worry.

To submit a health topic for our series, click here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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