From OHC

April 6, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Joanie Manzo
Director, Marketing & Physician Services
513-751-2145 x10143
joan.manzo@usoncology.com

The past year has undoubtedly been one of fear and anxiety for cancer patients and other immunocompromised individuals who are more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus and complications. Fortunately, the COVID vaccine is being administered worldwide. While the vaccine is safe for the immunocompromised, the medical community is beginning to discover incidences of lymphadenopathy, or an enlarged lymph node(s), on imaging scans which have been noted after receiving the COVID vaccine. When this appears on a scan for a cancer patient, it could be alarming.

Known COVID vaccine side effects are expected to be like those of other vaccines with the possible appearance of a swollen lymph node. As part of the normal immune response to a vaccine, nodes under the armpits could swell because of their proximity to the injection site.

“At OHC, we’ve seen a couple of patients who had enlarged lymph nodes appear on their diagnostic scans after they received the COVID vaccine,” said OHC’s Prasad R. Kudalkar, MD, medical oncologist and hematologist. “These patients had recently received their COVID vaccine and fortunately, the images were a false alarm for cancer and the patients’ swelling subsided after a few days or weeks. It’s important that we get the word out to increase awareness about potential vaccine side effects and prevent any unnecessary anxiety.” While swollen lymph nodes are considered as a potential concern, there are other non-threatening reasons they may occur.

The Society of Breast Imaging is recommending scheduling a mammogram either before the first dose of the COVID vaccine or about four-to-six weeks following the second dose, if possible. “One shouldn’t be canceled because of the other,” advised Dr. Kudalkar. “As healthcare providers, we need to document if a patient has had a mammogram shortly after the vaccine.” OHC’s cancer experts will interpret imaging taking into consideration the timing of a patient’s vaccine dose. It is imperative that patients, physicians, and radiologists have clear communication. Both the imaging scans and the COVID vaccine are important to patient care.

To learn more about OHC and cancer screening guidelines, or to request a second opinion, visit ohcare.com or call 1-888-649-4800.

OHC (Oncology Hematology Care), the region’s leading experts in the treatment of nearly every form of adult cancer and complex blood disorders, has been fighting cancer on the front lines for more than 35 years. OHC offers the latest medical, gynecologic, and radiation therapy, and is always seeking better treatment options through its nationally recognized clinical trials program. OHC is the first and most experienced adult cancer practice in the region to offer the ground-breaking CAR T-cell therapy for adults. For more information about OHC, or for a second opinion, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.

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