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COVID-19 vaccine may cause swollen lymph nodes

A University Hospitals expert says it's a normal response to the vaccine and the lymph nodes should go back to normal size a couple of weeks later.

CLEVELAND — First and foremost, do not skip your mammogram if you're due for one.  

Second, don’t panic if you’ve recently been vaccinated and you feel a strange lump under your arm, near your armpit or on your neck.  The COVID vaccine does cause lymph nodes to swell.  Doctors say it’s a normal response while your body is building an immune response to fight the virus.  Since vaccinations started in December, radiologists started noticing swollen lymph nodes on mammograms and then realized the patient had been recently vaccinated.  If this happens to you, expect to get a call back for an ultrasound, and then another one a couple of months later.

“It’s a normal response to the vaccine and the lymph nodes should go back to normal size a couple of weeks later, maybe a month or two later, everybody’s different, after two months though, if the lymph nodes have not decreased in size, we should check them out,” said Dr. Holly Marshall, Division Chief, Breast Imaging, UH Cleveland Medical Center.

If you’re not due for your mammogram and you feel that swelling, pay attention to it.  If it doesn’t go away in two months, go see your doctor for an evaluation.  

And gentlemen, this message applies to you as well.  

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