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Patients should continue with mammograms after vaccination

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Some patients who receive the COVID-19 vaccine are experiencing swollen lymph nodes.

Health officials are concerned that for some women, this could be mistaken for a potential breast cancer diagnosis.

The vaccine can cause swelling under the arm where the shot was given.

The side effect raises questions about whether someone receiving a screening mammogram should reschedule.

Medical experts at the Mayo Clinic said that patients should not delay a cancer screening or treatment.

"Breast cancer, when it is found and treated, at small and early stages, it is almost curable," said Dr. Kristin Robinson, a Radiologist with the Mayo Clinc. "It is essentially much more treatable, then if we discover it at later stages or at larger sizes. So regardless of what is happening in the world around us, it is important to not delay your breast cancer screening."

Dr. Robinson said that sometimes breast cancer can present with lymph nodes that are swollen under one arm. "So when we see that on a mammogram we always want to evaluate that further and make sure this is related to the vaccine and not to breast cancer."

She said it's important that a patient let the mammogram technologist know if they've been vaccinated and which arm it was administered in. The information can then be helpful in understanding the mammogram images.

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