For years, Miriam Gutt has put her faith in the University of Miami's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center for her mammogram screenings. When a recent scan showed swollen lymph notes, she panicked.
“I thought of a million things that could be wrong, and I never thought of anything benign," Gutt said, a grandmother of six. "You always tend to think of something bad because of fear."
Gutt got the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on December 22nd of last year, and her mammogram appointment was on December 28th.
Gutt's doctor, Dr. Monica Yepes, explained that the vaccine dose had probably been what made her lymph nodes look enlarged, though a follow-up would be necessary to be sure.
"She was very anxious," Dr. Yepes, the director of breast imaging services at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, said of her patient.
“I tried to be brave during the scan," Gutt said. "Dr. Yepes told me not to worry, that we would follow up and do another scan in April and take it from there."
Dr. Yepes said that enlarged lymph nodes is a regular side-effect of the coronavirus vaccine, and Gutt is only one of a handful of patients she's seen in the last two months with a likely false positive mammogram as a result.
Other doctors across South Florida have reported seeing the same thing in a few dozen patients who had recently been vaccinated. Experts suggest delaying mammograms four to six weeks after receiving the second dose to give lymph nodes time to return to normal.
“As long as you have no symptoms, as long as you have no concerns, it’s fine for you to delay it a few weeks,” said Dr. Yepes.
Out of an abundance of caution, patients like Miriam should return for a follow up exam to rule out any problems.