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Health experts warn a side effect of COVID-19 and COVID vaccine could cause cancer scare

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — Health experts nationwide are warning a side effect from the COVID-19 vaccine could be causing cancer scares. The FDA warns swelling in the lymph nodes can occur after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and a local physician says doctors are seeing patients with breast inflammation after being vaccinated or infected with the virus. 

While the side effect is not necessarily uncommon, it can cause fear. It can mimic the symptoms of something more serious. 

“What it leads to is maybe increased apprehension about something underlying, this breast problem,” said Dr. Karinn Chambers, the Medical Director of the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso Breast Care Center. “With that being said, this is not necessarily cancer-related or a diagnosis of cancer, but it does lead to increased suspicion.”

Some physicians have urged patients to schedule cancer scans, including mammograms, before getting the vaccine. If a patient is not experiencing the swelling and is getting a routine scan, Dr. Chambers said patients could delay such appointments by two to three weeks after vaccination if they choose. However, she notes technology should be able to differentiate inflammation from something more serious.

If patients are experiencing swelling and are concerned, Dr. Chambers says they can make an appointment for a scan.

“You should absolutely get everything worked up,” she said. “Listen to your doctor’s advice. Whatever imaging or whatever workup or whatever antibiotics are required, get treated. Partake in that, but know that hopefully this is just related to infection. Inflammation will be temporary. It doesn't always have to be the worst-case scenario.”

Dr. Chambers said the symptom likely will fade in a matter of a few weeks to a month. 

Article Topic Follows: Health

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.


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