When to schedule an annual mammogram around a COVID-19 vaccine

Published: May. 5, 2021 at 7:57 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The pandemic has delayed an important piece of preventative health care for women: annual mammograms. Doctors say now is the time to get those appointments back on the books.

Health experts say many women are months overdue. The calendar is starting to open up again for providers, meaning it’s a perfect time to get in for an appointment.

There is one other thing to note that could cause an additional delay.

The COVID-19 vaccine, as with other vaccines, can cause enlarged lymph nodes, which would show up on a mammogram reading.

“The trouble there is we have a mammogram that shows enlarged lymph nodes and we have to do decide what to do with it,” says Dr. James Kinsella, with Marshfield Clinic Health System Radiology/Mammography. “What we don’t want to happen is women to cancel outright and then we miss or have a long delay in their mammography, so if a woman has not had their COVID-19 vaccine and knows when it’s coming up, she could call in and get in before the vaccine.”

Dr. Kinsella says if a woman has already gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s suggested that she wait another four to six weeks to schedule a mammogram. As always, early detection is key, so if a woman feels a lump herself or notices that something is off, she should make an appointment to see her provider immediately.

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