My Patients Ask — Can a COVID vaccine side effect be mistaken for cancer?

The New York Times reported that as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the U.S., physicians are observing enlarged underarm lymph nodes, which may be mistaken for a sign of cancer in recently immunized people.

The swelling is a normal reaction by the immune system to the vaccine and occurs on the same side as the arm where the shot was given.

Swelling occurring in the armpit lymph nodes was actually “. . . a recognized side effect in the large trials of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.”

However, “the condition was not listed among the reported side effects in a briefing document from the Food and Drug Administration about the Johnson & Johnson [COVID] vaccine.”

But now you’re in the know!

This blog was accurate as of the day of posting. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly evolves and the scientific community’s understanding of the novel coronavirus and the COVID vaccine develops, the information above may have changed since it was last updated. While I aim to keep all of my blogs on COVID and the COVID vaccine up to date, please visit online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.


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