BOSTON (CBS) – Dr. Mallika Marshall is answering your coronavirus-related medical questions. If you have a question for Dr. Mallika, email her or message her on Facebook or Twitter.

Dr. Mallika is offering her best advice, but as always, consult your personal doctor before making any decisions about your personal health.

Cindy writes, “I read that getting the vaccine shortly before your mammogram can cause your lymph nodes to appear enlarged on the mammogram. How long do you need to wait between getting the vaccine and your mammogram for this not to happen?”

Some people can develop swollen lymph nodes in the armpits after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine which is a normal immune response to the vaccine. But these swollen lymph nodes can show up on mammograms, in some cases resembling breast cancer. Ideally, you would get your mammogram before your COVID vaccine. But that may not be possible, so some doctors recommend waiting 4-6 weeks before getting a mammogram. But don’t wait longer than that. The most important thing is to get both, your COVID vaccine and your mammogram. And if you can’t space them, just let the technician know that you recently had the vaccine and show them in which arm.

Doctor, as you mentioned, women should not put off getting their mammograms for too long. In fact, a new study says doing so could be detrimental to your health.

A new study in the journal Radiology looked at more than a half-million Swedish women and found that those who had shown up for their two routine mammograms before they were diagnosed with breast cancer were 50-percent less likely to die from the disease within 10 years than women who had skipped their routine exams. The take-home message is to get your routine mammograms as recommended by your provider. Don’t skip them due to the timing of your COVID-19 vaccine or because you’re worried about catching the coronavirus. It is absolutely safe to come in for your routine appointments.


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