This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the experts at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital remind women about the importance of routine medical care, particularly annual screening mammograms.
“Annual screening mammograms are the best tool we have in the fight against breast cancer,” says Sona Chikarmane, MD, Division Chief of Breast Imaging. “Early detection gives women the best possible chance for a good outcome should cancer be detected. That’s why we encourage all women age 40 and over to have an annual screening mammogram.”
The Breast Imaging and Diagnostic Centre at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital continues to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including travel screenings, symptom questionnaires and mandatory masking for both patients and staff. “When you visit us for your mammogram, you can expect to be safe,” says Dr. Chikarmane.
But What If I’ve Recently Had a COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster Shot?
Recent conflicting information in the news has caused confusion. Some women who receive the COVID-19 vaccine may develop swollen lymph nodes under their arm on the side of their vaccine injection. This is an expected immune reaction to a vaccine in some patients. These swollen lymph nodes usually return to normal on their own in a few days or weeks. But what if you have a mammogram scheduled? Should you wait four to six weeks after your vaccine for your mammogram? Or delay your COVID-19 vaccine?
Dr. Chikarmane assures patients there is no need to delay either life-saving appointment.
“Here at the Breast Imaging and Diagnostic Centre, all mammograms use 3D technology and are read by Brigham and Women’s board-certified subspecialist radiologists who have devoted their careers exclusively to breast imaging. We are leading experts in the field who will carefully review your images. If you have recently had a COVID-19 vaccine, we will ask you the date of your vaccination, what side you received the vaccine and use this information when we interpret your mammogram. We encourage patients not to delay their live-saving mammograms or COVID-19 vaccines,” advises Dr. Chikarmane.
How Do I Schedule My Annual Screening Mammogram?
Scheduling your annual screening mammogram is easy! First, talk to your primary care provider. Then, give us a call at 617-983-7272.
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