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Letter: The extra time and anguish are not necessary

Do not get a mammogram until at least four weeks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

A good friend and neighbor, Lucille, and I were having our usual afternoon beverage of choice when she asked me if I was having my follow-up mammogram soon. I answered yes. As a matter of fact, I was having it and an ultrasound the next day. She explained that she recently heard on Channel 30 Action News that a person should not have a mammogram after getting the shot. But she didn’t know the details.

Although it was 4:30 in the afternoon, I called the Radin Breast Care Center at Clovis Community Medical Center, where I would be having the workup done. After examining my records, the technician explained that in my case it was a little different; they only needed a few images and an ultrasound to determine just how to proceed with a biopsy on my breast. (I already had the initial mammogram a few weeks ago.)

I must say that the workup the following day was enlightening. After the technician did the x-ray of only three plates, she took me to another room where she also performed the ultrasound. She stated that she would take the results to the doctor who would perform the biopsy. Again I was surprised when she returned with the MD in tow.

First of all, the doctor, who preferred that I not use his name, praised me for my getting a mammogram every year. (In my case there is breast cancer in my family. Also I have fibrocystic breasts so that, even though I am well past 65, Medicare pays for the yearly exam.) He said that by catching it early, the two spots in question were very small. Did I have any questions? Of course I did.

“Why does a person who is having a mammogram have to wait the four weeks after getting a COVID-19 injection?” I asked. He explained that X-ray results on patients who got a mammogram earlier than four weeks after a shot were showing questionable spots. Then, more unnecessary tests would have to be done.

I must admit that I was still a little confused as to whether it was dangerous to get so many X-rays. A radiologist friend of mine said that was not the case, as X-rays on breasts are less intensive. It all seems to “boil down to” the fact that there may not be any danger in getting the extra studies. But the extra time and anguish are not necessary.

I was very satisfied with all of the answers.

— Viola J. Turner,




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