Mammogram centers around the country have reported an increase in node swelling on the areas surrounding the breasts—a worrisome statistic for many women that resulted in stress, biopsies and further testing. After noticing this trend, doctors asked their patients some questions and discovered that a lot of them had received at least one dosage of the COVID-19 vaccination.
Swollen lymph nodes are always a cause for alarm, suggesting infections, cancer, and more. They’re also a normal response when bodies are fighting or processing an infection, as is the case with most vaccinations. And during the current pandemic, the number of people experiencing this has resulted in a significant percentage of the population.
Dr. Lars Grimm, associate professor of radiology at Duke University, told CNN that it’s important for doctors to make it clear that a biopsy isn’t always the next step when encountering these kinds of results; swollen nodes can suggest many different things and should encourage doctors to dig deeper.
“You actually have some women who want to biopsy,” said Grimm. “You might tell them, ‘Hey, I think this is due to your Covid vaccine, and I’m sure that it’s going to resolve in a few weeks on its own and you’re going to be fine.’ But that patient tells you, ‘I’m not going to be comfortable waiting, I want to know now.’”
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Swollen lymph nodes aren’t only being spotted in mammograms; according to doctors that work across different fields, this reaction has resulted in those who’ve experienced other types of cancer unnecessary stress, not to mention extra trips to the hospital and additional testing.
In order to avoid situations like this, medical experts are recommending getting your annual mammogram before your vaccine is scheduled, or waiting a couple of weeks until you’ve had your full inoculation to schedule your mammogram.
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What health experts have been prioritizing since the start of the year is that people should make the time and take the necessary precautions in order to follow through with their planned health checks. Significant amounts of people have been facing health crises unrelated to COVID-19 and it’s very important to address them.