Side effect possibly linked to COVID-19 vaccine showing up on mammograms, Tulsa doctor says

TULSA, Okla. — Staff at the St. Francis Breast Center in Tulsa say a concerning side effect possibly linked to the COVID-19 vaccine is showing up on patients’ mammograms.

Dr. Brooke Caldwell, the lead interpreting physician at the facility, says the goal when patients come into her office is to fine nothing in their routine screenings.

However, finding enlarged lymph nodes in patients’ armpits can generate significant concern.

“When we see large lymph nodes on a mammogram, we think cancer first,” Caldwell says.

In some recent cases however, Caldwell says she now thinks the enlarged lymph nodes link back to the COVID-19 vaccine.

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“With the COVID vaccine and it appears to be random, some women are getting very enlarged lymph nodes as a result of the vaccine,” she says.

The lymph node condition is only temporary, and Caldwell says she hasn’t noticed one case standing out more than others, but her team still has to do their due diligence.

“We have to prove in each of those cases, that have had a mammogram after a COVID vaccine, that has large lymph nodes, that it’s not cancer.”

Despite the scary process for some, Calwell says she’s offering a solution.

“Either come before your first [dose] or come a month after your second one.”

Caldwell says women with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus also have enlarged lymph nodes, so unless someone has one of those conditions her team is going to do what they need to rule out cancer when they see this symptom.