In order to conduct a clinical breast examination, it is essential that the patient lie in a supine position. It is also helpful to evaluate the opposite breast if the patient has a complaint of one side. When examining a patient, it is important to flatten the breast tissue and use a series of palpations. This allows serial progression from superficial to deeper tissues. It is also best to use finger pads and perform the examination with the patient’s breasts cupped slightly.
Performing a clinical breast examination
Performing a clinical breast examination is an important step in the breast cancer treatment process. The exam helps determine if a patient’s breasts are normal or abnormal. If abnormality is found, additional tests may be necessary, including a mammogram or ultrasound. To perform the exam, patients are instructed to undress, including removing all clothing above the waist.
This physical examination is performed by a health care provider, who will look for any changes or lumps that are present. The exam is commonly known as a CBE. Students can obtain this certification if they already have basic knowledge of breast cancer. However, if they have no experience performing these exams, they may not benefit from this program.
While there are no known risks associated with performing a clinical breast exam, some women may experience discomfort or pain during the procedure. The pressure should be firm but not painful.
Checking for lumps
The physician will use finger pads to feel the breasts for abnormalities. These examinations can help detect abnormalities that may be a sign of cancer. However, the majority of lumps found during breast exams are not cancerous. A woman should notify her primary care physician if she finds a suspicious lump.
The first step in checking for lumps is understanding what is normal for the breast. Although a lump may seem frightening, most breast lumps are benign and harmless. However, a woman should see a physician if she experiences a change in the size, shape, or color of her breasts.
To check for lumps, the woman should start at the outer edge of the breast and move her fingers in smaller circles. She should also check under her arms and her upper chest. After examining the outer edge of each breast, the woman should continue checking underneath her arms, using her right hand for the left breast, and her left hand for the right breast.
Checking for changes in the shape, size, or skin texture of your breasts
Women should check their breasts regularly to determine any changes. A woman should examine her breasts once every month, ideally a few days after her period ends, when they are at their least swollen. Then she should look for any changes in the shape, size, or skin texture.
There are many causes for breast size and shape changes. These include the aging process, hormone shifts, pregnancy, and menstruation. It can be difficult to tell the difference between these natural changes and signs of breast cancer. Fortunately, if caught in time, breast cancer survivors have a 5-year survival rate, compared to only two years in late-stage cases. This makes it essential to know the warning signs of breast cancer and to practice breast awareness regularly.
Checking for expressable nipple discharge
Checking for expressable nipples during a breast examination is an important step in evaluating breast disease. This discharge is not considered a serious problem, but should be investigated for any abnormalities. It should be evaluated to determine its cause and how frequently it occurs.
The discharge is usually milky and yellow, and can come from more than one duct. It is usually noncancerous and harmless, and is normal during pregnancy and breast feeding. However, if a woman repeatedly squeezing her nipples, the discharge may worsen, making it necessary to see a doctor.
If the discharge is blood stained or persistent, it may indicate cancer. Your doctor will want to run tests to find out the cause. If the cause of the nipple discharge is a cancer, your doctor may recommend treatment.