New vaccine-related information for women undergoing cancer screenings

(Photo supplied/Berrien County Health Department)

Doctors are learning more and more with each person that is vaccinated for coronavirus.

One thing they have learned when it comes to women getting the vaccine is that you need to be careful in how you schedule your screenings for breast cancer around when you get both of your doses of the vaccine.

Dr. Cameual Wright is an OBG/YN and VP market chief medical officer at CareSource. She said there are signs to look out for to let you know that the vaccine is working in your body.

“Swollen lymph nodes are very common as a result of vaccination,” she told WISH-TV. “That’s just our body’s way of mounting a response to the vaccine. It’s a sign that our immune system is revving up and that the vaccine is doing what we want it to do.”

Lymph nodes are all over our bodies and for women they are also around the breasts. Dr. Wright said when these lymph nodes get swollen, it can make it more difficult for them to screen you for breast cancer with a mammogram.

“When a woman has enlarged lymph nodes, there can be a question in why that is occurring,” Wright said. “Sometimes having a vaccination close to the time of a mammogram can make that picture a little murky.”

She said having swollen lymph nodes, even without a vaccine, is not immediately concerning but that it still makes it harder to figure out if there is cancer present during a mammogram.

To clear up any of the murkiness, she suggests that if you are due for a mammogram, but are also getting a COVID shot soon, that you either get the mammogram before you are vaccinated, or wait four to six weeks after your second dose of the shot to schedule it.

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