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Hospital says women who receive second dose of COVID-19 vaccine should wait to get routine mammogram

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) is updating its recommendations on mammograms.

SBI said women who have received their second COVID-19 shot should wait four weeks to get a routine screening mammogram.

However, UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital is stressing women should not wait to receive a diagnostic mammogram if they notice any symptoms, such as a lump or pain in their breast, regardless of when they were vaccinated. The SBI recommendation only applies to routine mammograms.

"If a patient is experiencing any new symptoms, they should reach out to their primary care provider to discuss further imaging, regardless if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine or not," says Vickie Rahe, Director of Radiology. "Patients should get checked as soon as possible if they experience a lump or pain in the breast, even if they have recently been vaccinated. Please do not delay care in this situation."

The new guidance comes after radiologists nationwide noticed a spike in mammograms showing swollen lymph nodes among women who received a COVID-19 vaccine. The enlarged lymph nodes may prevent an accurate mammogram reading, which could then lead to unnecessary diagnostic testing, the society said.

UnityPoint Health is implementing the following SBI recommendations for patients who are not experiencing symptoms and are scheduled to get a routine mammogram:

  • Patients arriving for a mammogram will be asked the following questions:
    -- Have you received the COVID-19 vaccination?
    -- If yes, when did you receive the vaccination and in which arm?
  • If possible, consider scheduling your screening mammogram prior to your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have already received your vaccination, please consider scheduling your screening mammogram four weeks after your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have questions about this information, you can call Finley Hospital's Imaging Services at (563) 589-2402.

You can read more about the new guidance here.

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Olivia Schmitt

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