With more people getting vaccinated against COVID-19, patients have asked the team at our Hermel Breast Health Center, “I got the COVID vaccine, should I still get my routine mammogram?”
The short answer is: YES. You should not delay this important cancer screening.
For more information, we asked David Rose, MD, chair of radiology at Emerson Hospital. According to Dr. Rose, very few people who receive the COVID-19 vaccine experience enlarged lymph nodes as a result of the vaccine. Lymph nodes are part of your body’s immune system. For this small group of women who do, their mammograms may show swollen lymph nodes near their armpit. An ultrasound may be requested if further evaluation is needed.
Your tech at the Breast Health Center who performs your mammogram will ask you if you received the COVID-19 vaccine, and in which arm and when you received it. This information will be noted in your medical chart and the radiologist who reads your mammogram will keep the information in mind when they evaluate your images.
Routine screening mammograms detect breast cancer at its earliest stages — when the cancer is most treatable. The best outcomes are when the mammogram is performed on-time, without delay.
Emerson’s recommendation that women receive a screening mammogram, and do not delay their mammogram following the COVID-19 vaccine, is similar to other Boston-area hospitals.
If you have any questions or would like further information, please do not hesitate to call us at 978-287-8101.
Mammogram appointments are available at Emerson’s Hermel Breast Health Centers in Concord and Westford. If it has been 12 months or longer since your last mammogram, visit our breast health page to request an appointment for a screening, or call 978-287-8107.