CENTRAL NEW YORK, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — It seems as though every few months there’s another booster recommendation to help us fight COVID-19. For some, these vaccine doses come with a side effect causing breast cancer scares.
When the vaccine first came out, the CDC reported about 11% of patients had swollen lymph nodes after one COVID dose and 16% experienced this after their second shot.
It’s pretty common after a vaccination, but with so many COVID boosters, it’s creating unnecessary anxiety.
That was the case for Laura Fauler, considered at high risk for breast cancer. Her latest mammogram came with a shock.
“It showed up on there that I had swollen lymph nodes. So, at first, going through my head is oh my, is this cancer, is this, just what is it,” said Fauler.
Having swollen lymph nodes doesn’t mean you have cancer, but it is something Nurse Practitioner Mya Robertson will watch at St. Joseph’s Health Breast Care and Surgery.
Scans like Fauler’s have come through her office dozens of times since the COVID vaccine hit the market.
Usually, the suspicious imaging pops up if the patient had a booster dose within a few weeks of his or her mammogram.
In the meantime, it can cause unnecessary anxiety. “I kind of lost some sleep,” Fauler said.
Like most women, Fauler turned out fine, but a lot of people want to avoid worrying altogether.
So, what should you do?
I don’t want to tell somebody to avoid getting their booster, I don’t want to tell somebody to avoid their imaging. If you can plan your vaccine after your imaging that might be ideal.Mya Robertson
If you can’t plan your vaccine around imaging, Robertson says don’t stress and don’t skip either one.
According to the CDC, some doctors recommend getting your mammogram before your booster or waiting four to six weeks to get the imaging after a booster.
Just know you may have to get another scan in three months.