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New guidance for scheduling mammograms if receiving COVID vaccine

Samir Kulkarni

Aspirus Health would like women to be aware of new recommendations for when to schedule a mammogram after receiving COVID vaccines.

Aspirus is adopting the recommendations recently issued by The Society of Breast Imaging to avoid scheduling a mammogram for 4-6 weeks after receiving a COVID vaccine. Some patients may experience enlarged lymph nodes after receiving the vaccine, which could hinder an accurate mammogram reading.

Specifically, the guidance states: If possible, and when it does not unduly delay care, consider scheduling a mammogram prior to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or 4-6 weeks following the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Swollen lymph nodes may be a sign that the body is making antibodies in response to the vaccine as intended. Vaccines of all types can result in temporary swelling of the lymph nodes.

Dr. Samir Kulkarni, lead radiologist and a member of the Society of Breast Imaging, explains the relationship between the body’s immune response to the COVID vaccine and a patient’s mammogram. “Enlarged lymph nodes may result in a patient being 'called back' for additional imaging and evaluation,” he said. “Ensuring enough time has passed between COVID vaccines and a mammogram ensures that a patient doesn’t need to have a mammogram re-done for additional evaluation.”

Aspirus offers screening mammograms to women beginning at age 40 and continuing annually. Free mammograms also may be available to those who qualify.

A mammogram can be scheduled by calling 715-847-2550. All Aspirus locations have implemented safety measures such as universal masking, socially distanced waiting areas, and temperature checks along with other screening questions at entrances. It is safe to seek care.

For more information, visit aspirus.org/breast.