What is a clinical breast exam?

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HealthyWomen
Administration
A clinical breast exam (CBE) is a manual examination of the breasts by a healthcare professional to check for any suspicious masses. CBE is a complement to mammograms and an opportunity for you and your healthcare professional to discuss changes in your breasts, early detection testing and factors in your history that might make you more likely to have breast cancer.
A clinical breast exam (CBE) is an exam of your breasts by a health care professional, such as a doctor, nurse practitioner, nurse, or doctor's assistant. For this exam, you undress from the waist up. The health care professional will first look at your breasts for abnormalities in size or shape, or changes in the skin of the breasts or nipple. 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 proper technique from their health care professionals.  Ask your doctor or nurse to teach you and watch your technique.
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.