BALTIMORE — "Women should be very vigilant in doing breast evaluations and getting their annual mammogram," urged Dr. Kim Schlesinger, a medical oncologist from St. Joseph's Medical Center.
When a woman does a breast exam at home, they feel for enlarged lymph nodes.
Some of Dr. Schlesinger's patients have noticed swollen lymph nodes in their arm pit, either a couple of days or 2-3 weeks after getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
Turns out, it's not breast cancer but a response to the vaccine.
"The purpose of the lymph node is to help the body identify new pathogens, new infections, trauma and to process that activity in a positive way so your body can start healing," said Dr. Schlesinger. She added, "in the case of the vaccine, the lymph nodes are actually the first site where the body is starting to develop the antibodies or process the vaccine to start the immune process."
She explained how lymph nodes are distributed throughout the body and it's common for them to come and go. If you have a sore throat or a cold, you may be able to feel your lymph nodes in your neck. Typically, these lymph nodes will slowly go down over time.
"If you don’t feel a lymph node in your armpit after the shot, that’s okay too! If you, do it’s something to keep an eye on," said Dr. Schlesinger.
If you get the Covid-19 vaccine, have enlarged lymph nodes in your armpits and they don't go away after a few weeks, you should contact your doctor.
She added, "don't get overly alarmed. It's common for vaccines to cause side effects. Allow your body to process the vaccine."