Answering your COVID questions: 'Should I get a mammogram after I've had my COVID-19 shot?'

Early detection is powerful breast cancer weapon
Posted at 7:20 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 19:54:37-05

As a breast cancer survivor, I wanted to know more about the recommendation from the Society of Breast Imaging to consider getting a mammogram prior to your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, or four to six weeks after the second dose.

Dr. Steve Feagins of Mercy Health and Hamilton County Public Health said the recommendation comes because the vaccine can inflame lymph nodes. That can also be a red flag for cancer in imaging and perhaps trigger more testing.

“We've seen locally and nationally that individuals getting screening mammograms within a few weeks of the vaccine have lymph node swelling,” he said.

But Feagins said that doesn't mean you should delay screening mammograms.

“We've already delayed screenings through this pandemic enough. If you can, get your mammogram before the vaccine. If you can't, the technician will ask you about this and adjust the appointment or reading -- but please don't put off screening mammograms,” he said.

Putting off a mammogram could result in cancer going undetected longer than it should, Feagins said.

“And the time does matter -- not a few weeks, but when it becomes next year, it's easy to forget, and more time than should passes.”

His advice: Be sure to get both.

“Get the mammogram and get the vaccine and we'll figure it out when you call for an appointment -- but get them.”

This Thursday during "Good Morning Tri-State," reporter Ally Kraemer digs deeper into the subject by speaking with a doctor from St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

This month, WCPO 9 is taking your questions about COVID-19 vaccines and posing them to local health care experts. Email or message @KristynHartmanWCPO on Facebook with your name, neighborhood and question, and you could see an expert answer it on air.