Breast Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

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Clinical breast exam

A clinical breast exam (CBE) is an examination of your breasts by a health professional such as a doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse, or physician assistant. For this exam, you undress from the waist up. The health professional will first look at your breasts for abnormalities in size or shape, or changes in the skin of the breasts or nipples. Then, using the pads of the fingers, the examiner will gently feel (palpate) your breasts.

Special attention will be given to the shape and texture of the breasts, location of any lumps, and whether such lumps are attached to the skin or to deeper tissues. The area under both arms will also be examined.

The CBE is a good time for women who don’t know how to examine their breasts to learn the right way to do it from their health care professionals. Ask your doctor or nurse to teach you and watch your technique.


Last Medical Review: 09/10/2014
Last Revised: 09/10/2014