Unusual swelling caused by Covid-19 vaccines is being picked up on routine mammograms and other scans, radiologists say. Here's what you can do to avoid unnecessary worries about breast and other forms of cancer when you get your vaccination.
Unusual swelling caused by Covid-19 vaccines are being picked up on routine mammograms and other scans, radiologists say. Here's what you can do to avoid unnecessary worries about breast and other forms of cancer when you get your vaccination.
Then the Moderna vaccine became available to health care professionals in the city. She received her first Covid-19 shot about a week before her scheduled mammogram.Quasha didn't notice much of a reaction to the vaccine at first, but a couple of days before her appointment her left arm began to hurt. Tender, swollen lumps developed under her left armpit, along with a large swelling above her collarbone -- all areas where the body has lymph nodes, the body's filters for germs. "You have lymph nodes above and below your collarbone," Quasha said."You don't want to feel those. It was scary when I felt it."Read MoreLymph nodes contain immune cells that help fight invaders. That's why it made sense to Quasha that the nodes were reacting to the vaccine, building antibodies as they were designed to do. But she couldn't be sure.The swelling was only on the left side where she had gotten the shot -- the same side as the worrisome lump. Was it a reaction to the vaccine or another sign of breast cancer?'It was like a wildfire'After the ultrasound, Quasha's radiologist was concerned. She told Quasha she considered the lump she had felt in her breast to be of little significance, but the lymph nodes that showed up as white blobs on her mammogram were another matter.In non-pandemic times, that finding would set off alarm bells, requiring the need for further investigation, even an immediate biopsy. Yet Quasha had just had the vaccine. After talking it over with her, Quasha said her doctor decided not to do a biopsy at that time. Instead she told Quasha to come back for a follow-up ultrasound in six weeks.This mammogram, taken after a patient got the Covid-19 vaccine, shows a swollen lymph node.Similar scenarios had been happening in mammogram centers around the country. As radiologists compared notes with colleagues, word began to spread."We all started talking about it, and it was like a wildfire," said Dr. Connie Lehman, chief of breast imaging in Massachusetts General's department of radiology. "I cannot tell you how many women are showing nodes on mammograms and people thought it was going to be not that common," said Lehman, who is also a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School.Tales of unnecessary biopsies spurred the patient care committee of the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) to put out an advisory in January: Ask your patients about their Covid-19 status, and record the date and which arm received the vaccine. Consider that before automatically scheduling a biopsy."We wanted to advocate that women don't always need to have a biopsy," said Dr. Lars Grimm, associate professor of radiology at Duke University School of Medicine and one of the authors of the SBI advisory."Because oftentimes the default if you see swollen lymph nodes in a patient would actually be to recommend doing a biopsy."Mass General's Lehman agreed."When you hear hoofbeats, don't think zebra," she said."If a woman had a vaccine in the arm on the same side, and the lymph nodes are swollen, this is a normal biological response. It's totally expected. It just doesn't make sense to start imaging."FDA approves new drug for patients with metastatic breast cancerThat does not mean that women who wish to be sure about their cancer status cannot have a biopsy, Grimm stressed."You actually have some women who want to biopsy," he said."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.'"Focus on screening to save livesFor Quasha, the knowledge that many women were experiencing the same type of reaction to the vaccine was a welcome relief from worry. After a discussion with her doctor, she said she no longer needs the follow-up screening."I was very reassured," Quasha said."The point here is that there are a number of side effects from the vaccine which are not dangerous but can sometimes increase patient anxiety."When cancer isn't the only deadly risk: Battling depression post-treatmentInstead of bringing women back in for an unnecessary ultrasound, radiology centers should be focused on scheduling women who have missed or are overdue on their mammogram, Lehman said."We need to take care of the large percentage of women who didn't get screened because of the shutdowns during Covid," she said."At Mass General alone, we failed to screen 15,000 women because of Covid, and we're still trying to get them back in."This isn't where I need to start doing axillary ultrasounds, because someone had a vaccine and the node swelled. It's just not being practical or pragmatic or putting our patient's needs first," she said.It's not just breast cancer, Lehman stressed. Lymph nodes in other parts of the body are also reacting to the Covid-19 vaccines, causing people with other forms of cancer to undergo unnecessary procedures."There have been some false scares and some unnecessary biopsies because people didn't think to ask, and they assume that the node was the cancer coming back," she said.What to do?To avoid unnecessary worry, SBI recommends women schedule any routine, annual breast screening before getting the Covid-19 vaccine. If a woman has already had the vaccine, or is soon scheduled to do so, the society suggests waiting at least four to six weeks after the second dose before scheduling your appointment. MRI screening for women with extremely dense breast tissue reduces interval cancerAt Mass General, Lehman and her team have gone a step further. They are screening all women regardless of vaccine status, but telling those with no history of cancer that any swelling in the lymph nodes that might be connected to a Covid-19 vaccine is benign -- meaning not cancerous."This follows the American College of Radiology recommendations that if you have a known inflammatory cause you can say it's benign," said Lehman, who recently published a paper on the hospital's procedures."If their concern is a swelling or tenderness after the vaccine in their armpit, we suggest that they wait four to six weeks, talk to their doctor, and if it persists, then we have them come in to do an evaluation of it," she said.Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Gupta every Tuesday from the CNN Health team.
Defense Department confirms leaked video of unidentified aerial phenomena is real
The Defense Department has confirmed that leaked photos and video of 'unidentified aerial phenomena' taken in 2019 are indeed legitimate images of unexplained objects.
We(Iranians)DVlottery 2017-2020 winners were LEGALLY selected&invited by U.S gov, but all refused by unfair 212 P.P 9645. PLZ GIVE ANOTHER CHANCE. muslimban POTUS VP USCIS USAdarFarsi StateDept SecBlinken ashleytabaddor Soooo the vaccine makes boobs bigger? Nice... CNN is a scare monger Good info...Thank you!
Hot Johnson and Johnson... Cancer in a syringe.. Please reword your headline, unless you really purposely try to scare women. Not everyone has the patience or the interest to read the whole article. *if you get a vaccination Hello friends Today I’m following everyone back immediately FOLLOW and get a FOLLOW back immediately within 20sec. Don’t forget to turn on post notifications for massive gains too. MAKE WE ALL GROW 💯 Baron34973432
Hi, I work as a teacher in the State of Sudan for more than 8 years. I feel desperate because I do not have money to establish the simplest elements of life. I need help to establish a normal life that enjoys stability. My PayPal account has $ 0 ' ramieltayebgmail.com' Bad headline. The lymph node swelling isn't unusual at all after any vaccine. Article states simple remedy: wait 6 weeks after shot to get mammo.
*It feels 2 early to trust these vaccines. Let's focus on curing the currently afflicted, & testing 4 the best vaccine available for everyone? This human guinea pig solution could have long term effects? What excuse will take that damage away? We deserve better health care. ASAP Ah yes this is a very responsible headline
So what was that all about? Not to make light, but clearly made by a man A mild systemic response to a vaccine means that it's doing exactly what it should do, preventing a more serious illness. Recently my friend's baby was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia & needs a stem cell transplant. Jason & his wife are first-time parents caring for a sick baby & could use some help. If you are in a place to donate or share, it would be appreciated.
If covid-19 causes “swelling” my wife will be going maskless everywhere until she is “immune”. Nawmsayin! 😉 Swelling and aches is completely normal when you get the vaccine. It’s actually a good thing because it shows that it’s doing it’s job.