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Your mammogram could show a false positive after you get the COVID-19 vaccine. Here's why

Despite the possibility of a false positive, a 10-year breast cancer survivor is still urging women to get their mammogram.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Chady Eversole is a 10-year breast cancer survivor. She tells WHAS11 keeping up with her health is important because of her family history.

"I'm always worried about it because we've had it and it's killed my mother, my grandmother, my sister," Eversole said.

After getting her COVID-19 booster shot, Eversole said she saw a post on social media where community members were talking about when they should get their mammograms after getting the vaccine.

"I am a breast cancer survivor and can tell you the last thing you want to hear is that you need to come back for a second test," the post said.

Chady said she immediately called her doctor to ask. Her primary care physician told her that it was true - the vaccine can result in a false positive on a cancer screening.

"It's something we're seeing across all cancer types," explained Dr. Brian Dong, an oncologist with the University of Louisville.

He said false positives show up when the lymph nodes during screening are reactive but have nothing to do with cancer. He also said it is normal to get some kind of lymph node reaction with any vaccine - not just the COVID-19 shot.

Despite the chance of a false positive, Dr. Dong suggests women should still get their mammograms.

"I'd rather you'd get screened as soon as you can rather than delay it another year or delay it another month or two," he said.

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Eversole said she's still planning to go to her screening next month. She urges anyone that hasn't gotten their checkup to schedule one as well.

"Go be your own patient advocate, be proactive don't just sit there and think it's not going to happen to me."

If you've recently had your COVID vaccine or booster shot and are planning to get your mammogram soon after, doctors suggest reaching out and letting them know when you had your shot. They want to work with you to figure out the best next step.

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