Breast Imaging and Covid Immunization

Mar 29, 2021


Do BOTH your COVID-19 immunization and your mammogram. Delaying your diagnostic mammogram or screening mammogram may result in finding breast cancer later. The Women’s Imaging Center (The Women’s Imaging Center) sent a clear message from the beginning that we agree with the Mayo Clinic Recommendations in doing BOTH without delaying the mammogram or the COVID immunization. Many Press Releases recently announced that women should wait to schedule their mammogram until after the second COVID immunization. This recommendation was based o the fact that the COVID-19 immunization “may cause false alarms on the screening such as enlarged lymph nodes on the side of immunization”. The breast is primarily drained by the lymphatic system so, with any kind of immunization, the lymph nodes will be occupied performing their role in the immune function instead of their role in draining via the breast lymphatics. Since the end of December 2020, radiologists specialized in women’s imaging and women’s radiology experienced in the evaluation of breast problems such as lumps or breast swelling have been seeing the phenomena across the world. Specialists in this field can easily correlate the timing of the immunization with any lymph node enlargement, called adenopathy.

Let’s think about whether the recent press-released announcement is reasonable for the public. First off, many women will have already missed last year’s screening exam because they deemed it unsafe to venture out, especially during stay-at-home orders with the lack of adequate protective masks for so long. Secondly, the Press releases did not distinguish whether they were talking about  “ screening mammograms” for annual or biennial prevention or  “ diagnostic mammograms” that evaluate for breast problems. The message was confusing and unfortunately resulted in different interpretations from women who may have heard one version or another or only snippets of the whole story, and erroneously waiting with a breast lump without seeking care. Significant breast issues such as lump, focal pain, nipple or skin retraction, or new discharge need to be addressed by a radiologist specializing in women’s imaging (women’s radiology) immediately.
We recommend looking at the whole picture for each patient to determine what is the best course of action. Under the current Press announcement from the Society of Breast Imaging and other groups, we do NOT agree with the recommendation that a woman “may consider waiting one month after the second immunization before seeking mammography’ and we NOT agree with the press releases in Colorado suggesting that women wait up to 90 days after their first COVID -19 immunization. Doing the math, with 21-28 days between the first and second shots, this may result in a two-month diagnosis after the first shot. A woman with a breast lump or significant breast symptoms should not wait- she should seek immediate attention to avoid a potential delay in diagnosis. This point of view is corroborated (agrees with ours) by the Mayo Clinics.

The Women’s Imaging Center uses the highest-rated breast imaging and comprehensive medical diagnostic imaging exams for women and men. We offer breast MRI and other Medical Diagnostic Imaging MRI services at our Denver/Cherry Creek location. The Women’s Imaging Center also provides most other Women’s Imaging and Mammography Services at our other Denver metro area locations including Women’s Imaging- West/Lakewood, Women’s Imaging-South/Highlands Ranch, and Women’s Imaging-North/Westminster locations. The Women’s Imaging Center locations allow easy access from many nearby communities including Arvada, Boulder, Broomfield, Thornton, Northglenn at our North Location; Littleton, Ken Caryl, Bow mar, Castle Pines, Castle Rock, and Lone Tree in our South Location; Wheat Ridge, Golden, Genesee, Evergreen, Conifer, Morrison, Foothill Mountain Corridor, Idaho Springs, and Summit County in the West Location; and Centennial, Parker, Meriden, Tallyn’s Reach, and South Aurora in our new Southeast/Centennial Location coming next month. 

The Women’s Imaging Center is committed to providing comprehensive individualized, innovative, state-of-the-art affordable healthcare for all women and men.

For more information call 303-321-CARE (2273)  Women’s Imaging Center to schedule an appointment or make an online appointment request.

The Women’s Imaging Center is committed to providing individualized, innovative, state-of-the-art healthcare to women and men. We offer breast 3D mammograms, breast ultrasound, pelvic ultrasound, abdominal ultrasound, breast MRI, pelvic MRI, shoulder MRI, Knee MRI, brain MRI, spine MRI, thyroid ultrasound, thyroid fine needed biopsy, nonsurgical breast biopsy, stereotactic breast biopsy, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy, breast cyst aspiration, and other imaging services at affordable out-patient cost dedicated Women’s Imaging Centers in Denver/Cherry Creek, West/Lakewood, South/Highlands Ranch, and North/Westminster.


Kelly McAleese MD
Medical Director, and Breast Radiologist
The Women’s Imaging Center



Kelly McAleese
by Kelly McAleese