Kristin Robinson, M.D., Radiology: It's very important to protect yourself from COVID-19. Women should get their COVID-19 vaccine even if they're scheduled to have their mammogram.

Breast imaging practices all over the country are seeing patients who have had the COVID-19 vaccine come in for their mammograms, and some of them are having swelling of the lymph nodes in the arm or the side of the body that the vaccine was administered. Now, we're recognizing that this is not the majority of patients. It is indeed the minority of patients, and this can happen with other vaccines, but compared to other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine is causing this a bit more.

If you have a concern about your breast or the under arm area after the vaccine, come in and be seen by your provider and get your mammogram done. We want to make sure we evaluate that appropriately. What we don't want to confuse this with or miss is actually a breast cancer that might be causing the lymph nodes to be swollen on one side.

So if you've had the vaccine and you get your mammogram and you're called back for additional imaging, not to worry until there's really something to worry about. Let us do the appropriate workup and make sure we're doing a thorough job screening for breast cancer.

Because breast cancer, when it's found and treated small and early stages, it is almost curable, essentially, certainly much more treatable, and so for that reason, regardless of what's happening in the world around us, it's really important to not delay your breast cancer screening.

April 29, 2021