A breast exam should be performed by your breast care specialist if you are concerned about breast pain or lumps in your breast.
A breast examination is a hands-on breast assessment done by a trained professional, preferably at breast screening clinic, and is vital tool in breast cancer screening and early breast cancer detection. Mammogram screening often follows a clinical breast exam, as a mammogram can detect small abnormalities within breast tissue which a hands-on breast exam may miss.
How It Is Done
A clinical breast examination is done by a health professional.
You will need to take off your clothes above the waist. You will be given a gown to wear during the examination.
A breast examination is suitable for women who are concerned about a lump or change in the breast. Most health organizations recommend a mammogram annually for women starting at age forty.
During a breast exam, your breast screening clinic professional will discuss any problems or concerns you may have, your medical history and risk factors for breast cancer.
Your breast care specialist will then examine each breast and underarm area. You may need to lift your arms over your head, or lie flat on the table and put your arms behind your head while your health professional performs your breast examination.
A mammogram breast screen is often performed as part of a breast exam. The procedure begins with you standing in front of a special x-ray machine and placing your breast on an adjustable platform. The breast will be placed between plates holding film, and the plate is brought closer to the platform to compress the breast for a clearer image. Mammography does cause some discomfort, and the process normally lasts 30 – 40 minutes.
A breast ultrasound can also be used as part of a breast examination, and evaluates any abnormalities found with diagnostic mammography or during a clinical breast exam.