Covid Vaccine Side Effect: Breast Lumps

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Dr. Karen Leong | 03/05/2021

Yesterday I had my first mammogram! I’m 39 years old, my maternal grandmother had a lumpectomy when she was in her late 70s, so really I don’t have any unusual risk factors compared to the population. However, about 2 months ago I felt something! I said UH-Oh! Backstory, I have an almost two-year-old, I did breastfeed for about 9 months. I did have mastitis (oh what fun that was!) twice in that same breast, in that same area. So when I felt this, it was a little sore, I felt a little mass, and thought I needed to get this checked out. 

Funny enough, being a breast reconstruction surgeon, I have actually never set foot in a mammography suite. I have ordered these for my pre-op cosmetic patients, I have sent patients for breast ultrasound, MRI, but have not personally experienced how these are done. Shame on me! I have to say it was an excellent experience! The technician for both the mammogram and the ultrasound was very good at what they do. You could tell they genuinely cared for their patients. The radiologist came into the room at the end of the ultrasound, she did a repeat look herself, she explained what she saw, it was all very reassuring. Fortunately, there is nothing that needs to be pursued!

So I wanted to talk about Covid-19 because we just spent a year hiding away in our homes and protecting ourselves from the coronavirus pandemic. What I learned from the radiologist as she was doing the ultrasound, is that they are seeing quite a few women, who after receiving the covid 19 vaccine are coming in with enlarged lymph nodes. She said many women have reported very large lymph nodes, with concerns about lymphoma but in fact, it’s all reactionary to the vaccine. 

So the point of this blog is: DO YOUR SELF EXAMS! (At home, in the shower, etc.) If you feel something, please don’t ignore it! Go see your primary care physician, ask for imaging, ask for an examination. Even in these times, where in-person appointments may be hard to come by, it’s important to be seen! 

If you have received either the first or second dose of the vaccine, and you start to feel something in your breast, armpit, or collarbone, this may be related to the vaccine. Do your due diligence! Don’t ignore anything that you see. It’s better to have confirmation that it’s not concerning than to wait and it becomes something very concerning! 

I just wanted to share my story and this new information that I learned firsthand. If you feel anything in your breast, vaccine or not, it is best to be seen sooner than later! Any breast-related questions for me, please reach out via the website consultation form, chat feature, or Instagram! My Instagram handle is @dr.karenleong