Hollywood Diagnostics Center has noticed something interesting that has come about from the results of the COVID-19 vaccines being given out to the public. Mammograms are showing swollen lymph nodes in the breast and armpit area of women who have been vaccinated and it is causing much confusion.
Radiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital have published an approach in the American Journal of Roentgenology to manage what they find to be a fairly common occurrence as COVID-19 vaccination programs ramp up.
The objective of the publication is to avoid confusion among patients and their providers and to avoid delays in vaccinations or recommended mammograms through the pandemic. Swelling of lymph nodes in the armpit area is a normal response to COVID-19 vaccinations, but when they are seen on mammograms, they can be mistaken for nodes that are swollen because of cancer, according to the study authors.
The research team wanted to develop a program that supported patients to continue to engage in vaccination programs while also ensuring that patients continued to receive their routine health care needs, such as breast cancer screening. In addition, it was important to reassure patients that swollen lymph nodes in the armpit is a normal and expected finding after vaccination, according to the study authors.
The group’s approach is based on 3 principles:
- Encouraging COVID-19 vaccination.
- Reducing and/or eliminating delays, cancellations, and rescheduling of breast imaging exams.
- Reducing unnecessary additional imaging and/or biopsies of lymph nodes that have become swollen from recent vaccination.
The study notes that no additional imaging tests are needed for swollen lymph nodes after recent vaccinations unless the swelling persists or if the patient has other health issues. Since the message is recommended to be communicated to both imaging staff and patients, the researchers said that a patient letter may read:
“The lymph nodes in your armpit area that we see on your mammogram are larger on the side where you had your recent COVID-19 vaccine. Enlarged lymph nodes are common after the COVID-19 vaccine and are your body’s normal reaction to the vaccine. However, if you feel a lump in your armpit that lasts for more than six weeks after your vaccination, you should let your health care provider know.”
“This disruption of breast cancer screening is likely to result in a significant increase in cancers diagnosed at late stages and an increased demand for cancer screening procedures as delayed tests are rescheduled,” Lehman said in a press release. “We believe our model can avoid reducing or delaying vaccinations and avoid further reduced or delayed breast cancer diagnoses based on confusion amongst patients and/or their providers.”
If you live in Hollywood, Florida, or the South Florida area in general, and are in need of any medical imaging like a mammogram, then call the Hollywood Diagnostic Center today! Our medical professionals are ready and willing to help you through these difficult and trying times. All of the staff within is friendly and ready to answer any questions you have regarding any medical imaging technologies and procedures being taken during the public health emergency. Call the Hollywood Diagnostic Center at Phone: (954) 966-3600 today!