Coronavirus vaccines may affect the way your mammogram looks by causing enlarged lymph nodes in the armpit which shows up as white blobs on mammograms.
According to Dr. Geeta Swamy a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Covid vaccine group who spoke to the NY Times, this swelling is a normal reaction to the vaccine and typically occurs on the same side as the arm where the shot was given.
However, this effect only lasts for a few weeks.
Even though this appears to be a non-issue, it can be a bit of a concern to radiologists because when a person has breast cancer, enlarged lymph nodes are also seen. To prevent a situation that can lead to a mistaken sign of cancer, it is recommended that you schedule your routine mammogram before the first Covid-19 vaccine dose or one month after the second dose.
However, this is not to say that you should delay in getting a mammogram if you suspect a lump or any other sign of breast cancer. In this case, you should get your diagnostic mammogram done without any delays.
According to Dr. Constance D. Lehman, who is the chief of breast imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital, to mitigate this situation, you can opt for the option to get the vaccine in your thigh instead of your arm, especially if you are benign treated for breast cancer or have a history of breast cancer.