Clinical breast exam – What is it? Why, how often should you get it done?

Clinical breast exam (CBE) is a physical exam of the breasts and the underarm by a trained health professional.

Breast cancer

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women today. It is also the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in India, surpassing cervical cancer.

Considering the huge rise in the number of breast cancer cases, it is important that women take steps to reduce their risk. One of such is regular clinical breast exam (CBE) - a physical exam of the breasts and the underarm by a trained health professional. Clinical breast exams are crucial for early detection of cancer.

Also Read: Breast cancer: Five ways to prevent the disease!

How it is done?


During a clinical breast exam, your healthcare provider will visually check your breasts while you are sitting up and then physically examine your breasts and nipples while you are lying down.

If your healthcare professional does find a lump or something abnormal, he will suggest you for further diagnostic measures.


How often should you get it?


For women in their 20s and 30s, experts recommend clinical breast exam about every three years, where women aged 40 and over should go every year.


Why it is done?


CBE is not recommended as part of routine breast cancer screening by all health organisations due to some of its drawbacks. However, it can be helpful in detecting breast cancer early, particularly, in women younger than 45 (for whom mammography is not recommended). Furthermore, CBE is not a substitute for mammograms in women 45 and older.

Meanwhile, the US Preventative Services Task Force, an expert group that reviews the latest research findings, recommends that the frequency of mammography for women be every two years (instead of annually) through the age of 74.

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