What is a clinical breast exam?
What are the risks?
There are no known risks associated with routine clinical breast exams. If an abnormality is detected, you may be advised to undergo additional cancer screening or tests that do have potential risks. Talk with your doctor to see if additional breast cancer screenings are recommended given your family history, age, and other risk factors.
While clinical breast exams may feel uncomfortable, especially for women with tender breasts, there are no specific side effects of a clinical breast exam. The pressure your doctor uses to check for abnormalities in the breast, underarm, and clavicle tissue should be firm but not painful.
How is it done?
Your clinical breast exam will be conducted by a trained doctor, who will examine your breast tissue, clavicle (below the breastbone) area, and underarms. You will be asked to undress privately, and change into a gown that opens in the front. Before conducting the exam, you might be questioned about your medical history and any concerns you have.
Clinical breast exams are conducted with you both sitting up and lying down while the doctor applies pressure to the underarms, breasts, and clavicle areas on both sides to detect lumps or abnormalities. The pressure applied should be firm but not painful and your doctor will talk to you about next steps if an abnormality is detected.