Reasons and Procedure For Conducting a Clinical Breast Examination

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Clinical Breast Exam

The procedure of examination and investigation of the breast of a patient, conducted by a health professional is known as a clinical breast examination or CBE. Mammograms as well as clinical breast examinations are done to check if a woman has breast cancer. Apart from this clinical breast examinations are done to detect other problems.

There are mixed opinions about clinical breast examinations. While some say that a mammogram is enough for screening breast cancer, others say that a mammogram combined with clinical breast examination is a good idea.

You can also combine a clinical breast check up with your regular medical check up. You can contact your doctor to know if you can get a clinical breast examination done with your medical checkups.

Reasons Why It is Conducted

A breast examination is done by a medical expert for breast cancer screening. Lumps in the breast examined are analyzed further to screen for malignancy.

  • A clinical breast exam also checks for problems like fibroadenoma and mastitis.
  • Preparation: You should tell your health professional, if you have lumps or have noticed a discharge that oozes out from the breasts. Also, if the nipples look different suddenly, then you need to mention this to your health care professional.
  • If any one of your breasts pain, then mention this to your physician. Of course, make sure that your breasts are not tender because of periods.
  • You must also mention if you are pregnant, are breast-feeding, have breast implants or have had a biopsy. If you've had hormone replacement therapy, then mention this to your physician. You must also mention if you have completed menopause.
  • Also, the best time for breast check-ups is after you've got over with your periods. So, wait for a week or two before getting a check-up done.


  • You will need to prepare for the examination by changing into a patient gown that will be provided with you. Before the actual procedure your health care provider will have an investigative interview with you to gather all the relevant info possible.
  • The health expert will then examine the areas surrounding the breast, the region under the arms and around the collarbone area for redness, bruising, infection, and breast size. The procedure may differ from clinic to clinic with some doctors requiring you to lie down, while others may ask you to simply raise your arms.
  • You won't feel any discomfort while the test is carried out.