COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be a crucial tool in reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19 and preventing severe illness and death. This is encouraging news for individuals, including those undergoing breast cancer treatment, as these vaccines are generally considered safe and effective.
Here are some key facts to keep in mind:
Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines: Extensive research supports the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. They do not contain live viruses, making them suitable for individuals with weakened immune systems, including those receiving breast cancer treatment.
Booster Shots Approved: The FDA has authorized booster shots for Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for all adults aged 18 and older. Moreover, you can mix and match these booster doses, offering flexibility in your vaccination strategy.
Varying Recommendations: Recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination can differ for people with weakened immune systems. Breast cancer treatments like chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy can compromise the immune system. It’s essential for those currently undergoing breast cancer treatment to consult their healthcare provider for guidance, as they may require special considerations.
Lymph Node Swelling: COVID-19 vaccines can sometimes cause swelling of lymph nodes in the underarm area on the same side where the vaccine was administered. This is a normal immune system response but can cause concern when observed on a mammogram. It’s crucial to inform your healthcare provider about recent vaccinations to avoid unnecessary anxiety.
Mammogram Timing: If you haven’t received the COVID-19 vaccine yet, it’s recommended to have your screening mammogram before the first dose. For those who have already been vaccinated, it’s advisable to complete the vaccination series and then schedule a screening mammogram four to six weeks afterward. Healthcare providers are aware of recent vaccinations and can make appropriate notes in the mammogram report.
History of Breast Cancer: Individuals with a history of breast cancer who receive a COVID-19 vaccine and experience underarm swelling on the same side as the shot should monitor the swelling for a week or two. If it persists, it’s essential to contact their healthcare provider. Additional imaging or ultrasound may be recommended to rule out any concerns related to breast cancer.
In conclusion, COVID-19 vaccines are a vital tool in protecting against the virus, even for individuals with a history of breast cancer or those currently undergoing treatment. Stay informed, consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance, and prioritize your health during these challenging times.