The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) recently updated its mammography recommendations, that women who’ve received their second COVID shot should wait four weeks to receive a screening mammogram, after radiologists nationwide noticed a spike in mammograms showing swollen lymph nodes among women who recently received the COVID-19 vaccination. These enlarged lymph nodes may prohibit an accurate reading on your screening mammogram, which could lead to unnecessary diagnostic testing.
In addition to the SBI recommendation, St. Luke’s Breast and Bone Health would like to stress the importance that patients not wait to receive a diagnostic mammogram if they notice symptoms, such as a lump or pain in their breast, regardless of when they received the COVID-19 vaccine. This recent SBI recommendation applies only to routine screening mammograms where patients aren’t experiencing any symptoms.
“If a patient is experiencing any new symptoms, regardless if they have received the COVID vaccine or not, they should reach out to their primary care provider to discuss further imaging and not delay care.” says Therese Michels, manager of St. Luke’s Breast and Bone Health. “We don’t want patients who have recently been vaccinated and then experience a lump or pain in the breast or axilla area to think they should wait. They should get checked out as soon as possible.”
UnityPoint Health will be implementing the following SBI recommendations for patients who are not experiencing symptoms and are scheduled to receive a screening mammogram:
- Patients arriving for a mammogram will be asked the following questions:
- Have you received the COVID-19 vaccination?
- If yes, when did you receive the vaccination and in which arm?
- If possible, consider scheduling your screening mammogram prior to your first dose of the COVID vaccine. If you have already received your vaccination, please consider scheduling your screening mammogram four weeks after your second dose of the COVID vaccine.
If you have questions about this information, call St. Luke’s Breast and Bone Health at (319) 369-7216.