Coronavirus vaccination may cause enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits or near the collarbone, which may be mistaken for a sign of cancer.
As vaccines are administered across the country, doctors have been seeing more and more of these swollen nodes in recently immunized people, and medical journals have begun publishing reports aimed at removing apprehensions and giving patients To avoid a harmful situation will help avoid unnecessary testing. A few weeks.
Inflammation is a normal response by the immune system to the vaccine, and occurs on the same side as the hand where the shot was given. It can also occur after other vaccinations, including flu and human papillomavirus (HPV). Patients may or may not see it. But enlarged lymph nodes appear as white swelling on mammograms and chest scans, images that may indicate an outbreak of cancer from a tumor in the breast or elsewhere in the body.
“I am particularly keen to convey this word to all patients undergoing surveillance after successful pre-treatment of cancer,” Dr. Constance D. Lehman, a writer of two said Magazine article on the problem And head of breast imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital. “I can’t imagine the worry of scans and hearing,” we found a node that is large. We do not think it is cancer, but it cannot tell, ‘or worse,’ we think it may be cancer. ”
Armpit inflammation was a recognized side effect in modern and large trials of the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine. In Modern’s study, 11.6 percent of patients reported swollen lymph nodes after the first dose, and 16 percent after the second dose. Pfizer-BioNotech had a lower incidence, with 0.3 percent of patients reporting it. But those figures only reflect what patients and their doctors saw, and radiologists say the actual rate is probably higher, and that many more cases are likely to show up on imaging such as mammograms, or MRIs or CT scans.
The condition was not listed among the side effects A briefing document About the Johnson & Johnson Kovid Vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration. On Saturday, the agency Authorized company vaccines for emergency use.
Dr. Lehman said it was important for the imaging centers to ask patients whether they had the Kovid vaccine and to record the date and hand of the shot in which it was given.
The advice in his clinic is given in a letter to patients whose examination shows inflammation, but no other abnormalities: “The lymph nodes in the area next to you that we see on your mammogram are The sides are bigger, where you recently received the Kovid-19 vaccine. Enlarged lymph nodes are common after the Kovid-19 vaccine and your body has a normal response to the vaccine. However, if you feel a lump in your armpit that lasts more than six weeks after your vaccination, you should let your health care provider know. “
One way people can avoid this problem is to postpone routine mammograms and other imaging for at least six weeks after the last dose of the vaccine. An article by the expert panel In the journal Radiology published on Wednesday.
A professional group, Society of Breast Imaging, Offers similar advice: “If possible, and when it does not care for delay, schedule screening before the second dose of Kovid-19 vaccination or 4-6 weeks after the second dose of Kovid-19 vaccination.” Consider the test. “
But the expert panel also warned that nonautoutine imaging is needed to help deal with the disease or other symptoms that may indicate cancer, it should not be delayed. Nor should there be vaccination.
People who have cancer are generally advised to be vaccinated against coronaviruses, especially because they are at greater risk of dying from Kovid. But some cancer treatments can interfere with the body’s ability to react fully to the vaccine, and The American Cancer Society advises patients Consult your oncologist about vaccination.
In recently vaccinated people who have cancer and have enlarged lymph nodes, it may be necessary to perform more tests, including biopsy of the nodes, Drs. Lehman said.
She described a patient with a newly diagnosed breast tumor who had swollen lymph nodes on the same side, and had recently received a Kovid shot in the arm on that side.
A biopsy was performed, an important step to determine if there were malignant cells in the nodes that would then help decide a course of treatment. It was negative for cancer. The vaccine had the highest probability of inflammation.
In another case, a woman, who previously had cancer in her right breast, had a routine mammogram that showed an enlarged lymph node in her left armpit, and no other abnormalities. She recently received a Kovid vaccination in the left arm. Doctors determined that no more tests would be needed until the swollen nodes lasted more than six weeks.
In a man with a history of bone cancer, a chest CT scan performed as a follow-up to swollen lymph nodes in an armpit – the side where he had recently vaccinated the Kovid vaccine. There was nothing wrong and no further tests were required. The same decision was made for similar findings in a recently vaccinated man with chest CT for lung cancer, and in a woman with a history of melanoma.
For patients being treated for a breast cancer, Drs. Lehman said, the Kovid shot should be given in the arm on the other side. The vaccine Can also be injected into the thigh. To prevent any issues with lymph node inflammation.
“It can really affect a lot of people if we don’t start registering vaccination status immediately at imaging centers,” Dr. Lehman said. “I also want cancer patients to know that they can get a foot or even a vaccine in the opposite direction to avoid confusion.”