PIH Health is sending an important message to women across the nation: Don’t delay your mammogram on account of potential swollen lymph nodes due to COVID-19 vaccines and don’t delay COVID-19 vaccination as both are important to your health. Doctors have noticed that the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can cause swollen lymph nodes under the arm in which the shot was given. These benign lymph node enlargements will show up on a mammogram, which may cause unnecessary worry.
For this reason, some healthcare providers suggest that women either get their mammograms before the vaccine, or postpone their mammograms until four to six weeks after receiving the vaccine—enough time for the lymph nodes to go back to their normal size.
However, PIH Health radiologists are aware of the connection and factor any vaccination timing into their interpretation of results.
“Reactive or swollen lymph nodes in the area after any vaccine are to be expected,” explains James Kuo MD, radiologist at PIH Health. “Lymph nodes are part of the body’s natural immune system, and swelling is a sign that the body is responding to the vaccine and building up defenses against COVID-19.”
In the vast majority of cases, with proper vaccination information, PIH Health radiologists can correctly attribute the swollen lymph nodes to the vaccination without further workup. “We believe this approach will prevent delays in both screening mammography and COVID-19 vaccination, dispel confusion, and provide patients with the best care possible,” says Dr. Kuo.
PIH Health recommends that screening mammograms continue as scheduled—women’s breast health is too important.
To schedule a mammogram visit PIHHealth.org/Mammogram.
About PIH Health
PIH Health is a nonprofit, regional healthcare network that serves approximately 3.7 million residents in the Los Angeles County, Orange County and San Gabriel Valley region. The fully integrated network is comprised of PIH Health Downey Hospital, PIH Health Good Samaritan Hospital, PIH Health Whittier Hospital, 35 outpatient medical office buildings, a multispecialty medical (physician) group, home healthcare services and hospice care, as well as heart, cancer, digestive health, orthopedics, women’s health, urgent care and emergency services. The organization is recognized by Watson Health as one of the nation’s Top Hospitals, and College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) as one of the nation’s top hospital systems for best practices, cutting-edge advancements, quality of care and healthcare technology. PIH Health is also certified as a Great Place to Work®. For more information, visit PIHHealth.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
SOURCE PIH Health