Doctors Find Side Effect Of COVID-19 Could Mimic Breast Cancer In Some Cases

Friday, February 19th 2021, 4:55 pm
By: Erica Rankin

EDMOND, Okla. -

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution increases nationwide, doctors said there is a side effect that health officials are warning people about.

“We are now realizing a little wrinkle that has come up in the world of breast imaging as it relates to a screening mammogram,” Breast Health Network Edmond co-clinical director Dr. Kelly McDonough said.

After some received the COVID-19 vaccine, doctors have noticed swollen lymph nodes. Dr. McDonough said the lymph nodes could be a normal reaction to the vaccine. 

“They are ramping up and they are making antibodies,” Dr. McDonough said. “The COVID-19 vaccine causes a strong immune response.”

Most studies indicated the swelling has been seen more with the Moderna vaccine.

Dr. McDonough said this side effect has made it tough on doctors reading mammograms.

“One of the secondary signs of breast cancer is swelling of the lymph nodes,” Dr. McDonough said.

Doctors are following guidelines to navigate through the side effect, such as asking patients if they have received a COVID-19 vaccine, which vaccine, in which arm and how long ago was the person vaccinated.

If you plan on receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. McDonough said to schedule your mammogram before or wait four to six weeks after.