Simply put, routine cancer screenings check your body for signs of cancer before you may have any physical symptoms. Routine screening mammograms are extremely effective at diagnosing breast cancer sooner. National trends indicate an alarming decrease in annual screening mammograms lately. Experts believe it is because many women are reluctant to visit the doctor due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that many women are significantly overdue or have even skipped their annual exam altogether. And even worse, patients with breast symptoms or lumps are waiting to come in as well.
The Physicians at Covenant Health’s breast centers want to assure patients that it is safe to come in to get a mammogram and other breast imaging studies. The breast centers are following CDC guidelines and have created a safe environment for patients.
There have been recent reports of false-positive mammograms after the COVID-19 vaccine, due to swollen lymph nodes under the arm which can occur from the vaccine. This may lead to undue anxiety and extra testing for the patient. Because of this, patients with no breast symptoms are encouraged to schedule their annual screening mammogram either before the COVID-19 vaccine or at least one month after receiving the last vaccine. Skipping their annual mammogram screening exam altogether is absolutely discouraged.
Most importantly, if you are overdue for your annual screening exam or have any breast symptoms, DO NOT DELAY your mammogram, regardless of your COVID-19 vaccination status. History of a recent vaccination should always be shared with the technologist at the time of the breast exam. It is of utmost importance to detect breast cancer as early as possible to allow for the most successful treatment outcome.