• Covid vaccine and mammograms?

    Asked by MarcieB on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

    Covid vaccine and mammograms?

    From what I have been reading, it seems one unexpected side effect of the covid vaccine is swollen lymph nodes in the vaccinated arm. The kind that would prompt your doctor, if seen on a mammogram, to order a biopsy. It is being recommended that we women schedule our mammograms at least six weeks after receiving the second dose of vaccine - that is, IF we are ever called to get the vaccine in the first place. (can you tell I have HAD IT with all this??!)
    I'm not real comfortable with this information. how do you all feel about it?

    24 Answers from the Community

    24 answers
    • raven's Avatar
      raven

      Interesting! I received my 2nd vaccine 19 days ago and have had some increase in my lymphedema effected arm's circumference up to 3/4" increase in circumference)
      Guess I will be calling my oncologist tomorrow. Than
      ks for sharing this!

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      I am so used, after 5+ years, to taking lymphedema precautions that I get all my shots & BPs in the opposite arm. Had my first Moderna shot 4 wks ago, and no change whatsoever in the breast cancer side arm. No swollen lymph nodes either. I get the second shot tomorrow, and my 6-month chest/ab/pelvic CT in about 3 weeks (surveillance for both bc and melanoma). Not due for a mammo till Dec.

      about 1 month ago
    • beachbum5817's Avatar
      beachbum5817

      I had not heard this potential side-effect. Thanks for the posting this MarciB. I get all of my shots and other diagnostic testing done on my non-cancer side. Take care.

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      I have read this information too, Marcie. I am now eligible to receive the vaccine because of other underlying conditions, but will be waiting until my oncology appointment on March 9 to discuss with him before I proceed. I am not yet in the age bracket to be eligible so I am sure the vaccinators will be happy for me to wait.
      I would definitely plan to get it in the opposite arm.
      It does concern me though that it could cause issues that might prompt a biopsy for a potentially unrelated reason.
      Thank you for sharing.

      about 1 month ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      @legaljen, I also plan to get the opposite arm vaccinated, IF it ever happens... I am just so discouraged right now. I am in the age bracket to be vaccinated and I was on the list to have it done when the hospital notified me it was no longer receiving the vaccine for first time doses - only follow up second doses. My oncologist told me our hospital was vaccinating since late Dec, and was up to being able to handle 10,000 a day when the new administration decided to change things and distribute the vaccine through pharmacies. Most pharmacies are equipped to vaccinate, but not 10,000 a day. So every time my husband and I go through the loops to get on a list we end up with a message that says, "Sorry, we can not accommodate any more reservations at this time." I think it is a good idea to distribute the vaccine through pharmacies and make it easier for people in outlaying areas, but why can't we have both? My husbands son and family are planning to come in March for a visit - they have been living abroad for two years (work related), so there are three little grandchildren who we haven't seen all that time! They do not want to come here unless we are vaccinated and I just don't know what to do? I am so upset about this situation, and then I hear about this new side effect....which makes me wonder what other side effects might turn-up...?

      And another thing - I have posted at least three questions since we got our new moderator and NONE of them have been posted on a daily review. I assume people have found them in the questions section IF they happen to look?

      sheesh! Don't mind me, it is just a bad day. :-(

      about 1 month ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      I did hear about this. Thanks for posting. I plan to get the vaccination in the opposite arm which is what I do with other shots, tests, etc.

      I don't think any of my questions have ever been listed in the What Next Digest. I always go to the QUESTIONS button on the web site to look for questions.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I, too, go to Questions to see what’s up.

      I’m scheduled to get my second vaccine (Pfizer) this Friday. I always use my other arm for any kind of puncture. I’ve heard that some people get a slight fever, chills, headache, other aches (or some of these) reactions after the second shot. Hadn’t heard about mammo warnings.

      about 1 month ago
    • JustForToday's Avatar
      JustForToday

      MarcieB, thank you for posting this. It is valuable information. Like you, we had difficulty getting our first vaccine scheduled. It took us over 2 weeks of intently searching the internet for availability. Your frustration is the same we felt. Then, my second vaccine had to be delayed when the nationwide winter storm affected the shipments. I am hearing of neighbors having an easier time of scheduling their first appointments, just in the last two days. I hope it opens up for you, too.

      Carool, I had my second Pfizer vaccine yesterday. The only side effect I had was a bit of lethargy and sore arm. The soreness was less than I experienced with my first Pfizer injection. On the other hand, my husband's second Moderna vaccine left him quite uncomfortable for two days afterwards. I think we experienced what we have read in that the Moderna second vaccine gives more side effects than the second Pfizer.

      That we have a vaccine like this in such a short time period is amazing. I have real respect for the scientists that put all their talents and energy into creating the vaccines. I believe there is a concerted effort by the federal government now to organize, plan and distribute the vaccine. I am optimistic that the rollout is going to get better. Many of us expect that eventually, getting a COVID vaccine will be as commonplace as our yearly flu shots.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      @JustForToday - Thank you! I’m now less worried about the reactions post-second vaccine. Will soon see.

      I, too, have tremendous respect for these scientists, and I feel much more secure, now that we have a federal government actually working to help us. Be safe, all!

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @MarcieB, we all have days where the world is just no cooperating with us. That's why we have this great site.

      I am a little frustrated that our new moderator doesn't take time to answer questions. We were all really spoiled with Greg though. I think because we were all so invested in Greg's journey, we all "tuned in" every day. He knew how important it is.

      I keep thinking about giving grace to our moderator. We don't know what he is going through or how he came to be here. Maybe there is something preventing him from answering. Maybe his life is really hectic right now.

      I am thankful this vaccine is coming out in greater doses as time goes by, but I am still a little afraid of how quickly it was produced too. I just wonder if the long term effects are going to be really bad. It scares me. Then again, almost everything scares me now. I hate being so skeptical and worried all the time. I hate it because I have little "phantom" pains and I worry. Yet I feel like I am worrying over nothing and I don't want to try to get an appointment or take up time in case someone needs it more than I do.

      about 1 month ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      @legaljen1969, I think you should absolutely get yourself on every list and go as soon as you are called. It really doesn't matter if it is not your *turn* - we all have to get it eventually so just get it when you can! (as the saying goes).

      I agree about the moderator, we really do not know anything about him? I don't even remember seeing any posts from him before he stepped up and announced he would do it? I certainly don't mean to criticize him, we will get used to his style in time, I am sure. Meanwhile, I guess we just check the questions, huh?

      There are so many rumors about this virus and the vaccine, it is hard to sort them out. Just yesterday, a woman who works at my bank, told me her husband, (who works at a hospital), said a person's blood type had a lot to do with whether or not you get the virus. I casually said, I'm o- and she said, "That's the one! You are probably immune!" I told her I doubted I was *immune* and she said maybe not, but my blood type was the one least likely to get it. I have to admit, I have heard that before, but who really knows? I am struggling with wanting the vaccine so I can reassure my grandchildren they won't kill me...and not wanting to be bullied into talking something I don't feel secure about. I'm kind of a mess right now. But, I'm not sure that matters because I can't get on more that 2 lists anyway!

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Ideally (per ASCO), get your mammo first and then the shot. If the boat's sailed on that (i.e., you got your shot), a month or so after the shot to get an annual screening mammogram, to avoid a lymph-node false alarm. The giveaway that it's not breast cancer is symmetry: both nodes would be swollen, probably those in the neck and even salivary-gland-adjacent. If you got your mammo too soon after the shot and you're displaying swollen nodes, you could probably rule out mets with other non-invasive imaging. Of course, if it's a scheduled-diagnostic mammo (or you're experiencing breast cancer symptoms), then don't delay. Further non-invasive imaging might rule out mets without needing biopsy. (Ultrasounding the usual-suspect lymph sites--including groin too--is easy, and would likely rule out any masses in them).

      O-negative blood makes you less susceptible to both catching the coronavirus and developing severe COVID-19 if you do catch it. But it's not an absolute protection--get the vaccine as soon as you're eligible and it's available to you. (And especially if you have A+ blood, which increases susceptibility to both catching and suffering from the virus).

      I'm two days post-second-shot of Moderna. Got a sore stiff arm w/in 6 hrs. Next day, very low-fever (99.2, which is 2.5 full degrees over my baseline), fatigue, gnawing headache, slight myalgias & arthralgias. A shot of espresso eased the headache, and two extra-strength Tylenol got rid of everything else but the arm soreness--which is beginning to ease. Slight parotid gland swelling too.

      about 1 month ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      Thank you for sorting things out for us, Sandy!

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      @MarcieB, I just posted something similar to what you did, and in the article it was suggested that people can get the vaccine into a leg. I did want to acknowledge what you posted here.

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @MarcieB, I wanted to "circle back" (using the "phrase of the day") and say that I did have my oncology appointment on Tuesday 3/9. My oncologist said there was no reason for me NOT to get the shot, and he wasn't insistent that I go right out and search all over to get my name on lists. He said he had one 80 year old patient who couldn't get an appointment around here until April 16th, but he had another patient aged 57 who was willing to travel inland about 2.5 hours and they got their shot about 3 weeks ago and are going to travel back to get dose 2 next week.
      I should be about 2 phases out now, and he said once my phase opens up, go ahead and put my name on the list but not to worry if it takes awhile. I don't think my phase will come up before my follow-up in early May with my surgeon. Oncologist and I agreed that I may as well wait until after my appointment with her given this information on the lymph node swelling. I likely won't get an appointment anywhere around here until May anyhow. I don't really want to travel 2-3 hours to get a shot and then have to do it again a couple of weeks later. I guess I am just lazy. I mean, if it were for treatment of my cancer- I would be happy to drive that far as often as I needed to do so, but not for a shot.
      He is pretty conservative in his treatment approach. He felt like waiting gives everyone more time to get even more information. Who knows what we will know by the time I am on the list. I asked if he didn't feel like I were in a "high risk" group and he said he would be more concerned about my weight than any effect it would have on me cancer wise, although I have been shedding a little weight with being diligent with portion control and 'intermittent fasting"- or not eating as late as I had been used to eating.
      Anyhow, I will get on a list when it's my turn.

      about 1 month ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      @legaljen1969, I just noticed Andreacha posted about all this too - evidently she missed this discussion. I am following up to let you know I got my first shot this past Thursday. It just popped up on my email from Michigan medicine on Monday and both my husband and I were able to schedule appointments.I have to say I was impressed with how well it was all organized - no lines, no waiting. Neither my husband nor I had any side effects except I did have a sore arm which was gone by the next morning. Our second one will be April 1. To be honest, the only reason I got this vaccine is so my husband's children will visit and there are times that makes me a little annoyed. I have never been worried about this virus for myself, I don't know why, but I just never have. In the Bible there is a story about Queen Ester when she is about to take a very big risk in approaching her husband (the King) to ask a favor. Her statement is, "I am going to the King. If I perish, I perish." That has kind of been my attitude throughout all of this. I have never been reluctant to go anywhere. (sometimes I would say to my husband, "I am going to the store. If I perish, I perish." (lol!) Okay, I KNOW that is flippant of me, but I just feel like I already looked death right in the face two years ago and I have come to terms with all of it.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      MarcieB, I’m glad you and your husband got the first vaccine.

      I know I feel a little (a lot?) safer, now that my partner and I are fully vaccinated. I’m even considering venturing into Manhattan soon to meet a few friends outside. We’ll all be mashed, and no hugging, even though it’ll be hard to not hug (okay, maybe loose hugs!).

      about 1 month ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      MarcieB, I actually have the same feeling - if I perish, I perish. I know I'm going to pass someday and I'm at peace with that. My issue is *how* I'm going to perish. I don't want to suffer. I have heard so many stories of how people suffer with COVID - it just sounds terrible. What you relayed about your vaccination appointment is the same I've been hearing from everyone - that the vaccination site was very well organized and ran smoothly, etc. I'm happy to say that I'm scheduled to get the vaccine tomorrow.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Bug, I’m glad you’ll be getting the vaccine!

      I, too, am at peace with dying — some day! But please not now! And I’m not at peace with my friends dying. And, as you said, death by Covid can be horrendous, and even living with its effects can be very difficult.

      Yay to these vaccines!

      about 1 month ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      Oh, gosh, please don't think I am anti-vaccine! I, too, am grateful they are here and I wouldn't want to be responsible for someone else getting it. I guess I am fortunate that I do not know of anyone who had it that experienced anything more than flu-like symptoms. But, honestly, if these vaccines can get us back to some form of normal I will be so glad.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      MarcieB, I never thought you were anti-vaccine! I was just saying I’m so glad we have these, and so soon. I’d thought it’d be much longer until anything was available.

      I have close friends, a couple. They now live in the Hudson Valley in NYS, in a house on two acres, and they don’t often see anyone but their grown children. They, especially my female friend, are hesitating to get the vaccine and are waiting until more time passes and she sees that there aren’t any bad effects. Because they live in a fairly isolated place, they’re not so worried about getting the virus (also, they’re both “only” 65, so not in the more vulnerable 70-plus category). I’ve never admonished her to get that vaccine ASAP (she’s also a cancer survivor — Hodgkin’s — six years ago). She and he are adults and not anti-science, and it’s their business. They’ll get the vaccine eventually.

      Hugs!

      about 1 month ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      Carool, speaking of living with the effects of the virus... I am hearing that one in three people who have the virus have long term effects. One in three! That's a lot. Ugh. Everyone take good care!

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Bug, wow! I didn’t know it was so high a percentage. Thank you.

      about 1 month ago
    • hscancer's Avatar
      hscancer

      I have heard that one's lymph nodes can swell up after a COVID vaccine and thus, mammograms and CT scans should not be scheduled within two weeks of any dose.

      9 days ago

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