Just after released new data from the world’s largest coronavirus vaccine testing site in Israel show the Pfizer vaccine mortality rate is “hundreds of times greater in vaccinated young people,” another sobering problem crops up.
One of the many serious side effects of COVID-19 vaccinations has caused concerns among a growing number of people who are getting false positive cancer symptoms.
Research now suggests doctors will need to “prepare to see large volumes” of imaging exams — including chest CTs, PET scans and mammograms — that show swollen lymph nodes, according to similar recommendations in the Journal of the American College of Radiology last week.
“We need to get the word out,” said Dr. Melissa Chen, a radiologist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Chen recently had to reassure a frightened patient who sought cancer testing because of an enlarged lymph node.
An expert panel from three cancer centers — MD Anderson, New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering and Boston’s Dana-Farber — published recommendations in the journal Radiology this month on how to handle scans complicated by the vaccine side effect.
Getting a cancer check (including a mammogram) after receiving COVID-19 vaccination could give a false alarm. These episodes have led more doctors to come across these concerns and experts in the know are advising patients to tell their physician about the shot to avoid the problem.
Sometimes lymph nodes, especially in the armpit, swell after the vaccinations. It’s a normal reaction by the immune system but one that might be mistaken for cancer if it shows up on a scan or mammogram
Knowing these are experimental vaccines and the mass vaccination programs are only a test, it’s likely the developers didn’t realize they would affect so many people so severely.
Lymph nodes are part of the immune system where infection-fighting white blood cells gather, spots usually too small to feel. But they can swell during illness and after other types of vaccines.
The nodes most commonly affected are in the armpit and near the collarbone, on the same side as the vaccination, Chen said.
The Food and Drug Administration lists the swelling along with other injection-related reactions commonly reported in studies of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but as of today not for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which has been introduced experimentally to the public more recently.
So far,the FDA discovered 16% of participants in the Moderna study reported some underarm swelling after their second dose. But if the lymph nodes are only slightly enlarged, they may show up on a medical scan without people noticing any bumps.
The medical advice, just as with all these public experiments, continues to evolve. If you’ve recently been vaccinated, tell the radiologist before any scan.