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Newly diagnosed, shall I finish my second dose of Shingles vaccine (ShingRx) before surgery?

sunflower777 Member Posts: 6

I was diagnosed with stage 1 IDC (ER+PR+HER2-) last week. I had already taken the first Shingles vaccine a few months back. So, I have three months window to take the second shot. I’ve met with my breast surgeon but not the oncologist yet. My surgery will likely happen in four weeks. My surgeon said I probably don’t need chemo. I may or may not need radiation therapy (if I choose lumpectomy, I need radiation. If I choose mastectomy, then no).

My question is whether I shall take the second shot of the shingles vaccine ASAP? I heard the shot can make lymph nodes swell up to 4 - 6 weeks. But since my mammogram had been done before the diagnosis, I assume it will not be repeated between now and surgery date (which is about a month from now). Is my assumption correct? If on the surgery day, my lymph nodes are somewhat swollen due to the Shingles vaccine, is it going to be a problem?


  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,072

    I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis. That’s a great question but wouldn’t a call to your doctor be the best way to find out what is best for you, in terms of the vaccine? Take care

  • sunflower777
    sunflower777 Member Posts: 6

    Thank you. I called my doctor a few days ago and left a message about this question. I haven’t heard anything back from them. Then when I was browsing this forum, I saw the pinned post talking about getting Shingles shot. I thought the members here may have some info about the vaccine while I continue to wait for someone from my doctor’s office to call me back.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,081

    HI @sunflower777 , This is definitely a question for your doctors. My diagnosis happened when the first covid vaccine that needed two shots became available. My surgery was delayed since I was on IV antibiotics but my surgeon told me to finish the covid series at least two weeks before my eventual surgery date. She was pretty adamant that I get it done but covid was much more prevalent then.

    I would guess that getting it right away would be the recommendation since both a sentinel node biopsy and radiation can affect your lymph nodes. Also you would be protected against shingles which can be very painful and sometimes long lasting. Message or call your surgeon's office with the question. If necessary putting off the surgery for a week or two would be an option. I hope your treatment goes well.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,287

    @sunflower777 we're sorry you find yourself here. Indeed, we think this depends on a number of different variables, such as your risk, how you responded to the first shot, etc, and best to wait the feedback from your doctor. We're glad you found us, and hope we can provide you support.

  • dimples90
    dimples90 Member Posts: 16

    I had to deal with shingles vaccine during my breast cancer journey. I had just established care with my new PCP when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. She seemed to want to get all things done while she had me there for the visit. I just found out 2 days prior to this of my diagnosis . I was 53. After she left the room, her assistant came in with the vaccine already drawn up. Told me that the doc wanted me to get the shot. I questioned her about this bc I wasn’t sure if I needed chemo. I felt like there were other pressing issues besides that vaccine. I didn’t stand up for myself and let her give it to me. She put it on the same arm as my cancer side. My arm was so swollen for days! I had a MRI that showed an enlarged lymph node on that side. My surgeon was annoyed because she didn’t know if it was caused by the vaccine. We had to delay an ultrasound so my arm could heal. Turns out I really did have a positive lymph node after I had a FNA.

    When I was due for the 2nd vaccine, I was in the middle of chemo. My onc would not let me get it. So, I had to wait. I had radiation, then multiple surgeries for reconstruction. My second dose was very delayed. Have no idea if I have any kind of immunity at this point.

    I would definitely find out what your surgeon thinks about getting the second dose.
    I regret not being my own advocate. I was just overwhelmed with my diagnosis. I have since parted ways with my PCP (for many more reasons than the vaccine).