The Connection Between Mammograms and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Published on April 28, 2021

PIH Health Talks About the Connection Between Mammograms

and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Physician Weighs in on the Importance of Screenings and Not Delaying Care

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