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How to Get a Clinical Breast Exam to Test for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the uncontrolled development of harmful cells in the breasts. Your primary care physician can give you a clinical breast exam to test for breast cancer. She will check the breast for lumps and suspicious skin conditions and may check the nipples for fluid.

Your doctor may also refer you to a gynecologist for the test, which is often included in a woman’s yearly gynecological exam.

Test for Breast Cancer


Understand Why a Clinical Exam Matters

Get clinical exams to ensure your breasts are tumor-free before the need for breast X-rays occurs. Get a mammogram to screen for breast cancer if you are in a high-risk group,

Know that clinical exams are fast, easy and painless. You can have one done when you see your doctor for a general physical exam.

Ask questions about breast cancer before, during or after your clinical exam. This is an opportunity for you to address any concerns you may have about the disease to your doctor.


Appreciate the Ease of This Test

Get clinical exams from nurses and outreach health professionals if you are in a rural area. Without the need for expensive or complicated equipment, clinical tests are available in every community.

Feel more comfortable with clinical exams if you are a woman who avoids mammograms. You should never avoid a necessary health test, but get a clinical exam rather than avoiding an exam altogether. Make sure you tell your doctor that you are uncomfortable with other types of testing. He may be able to calm your fears.


Look to the Future

Follow up by performing your own monthly self-exams. Ask your doctor what time of the month would be best to perform your test. Ask if the doctor has a take-home card showing you how to perform a self-exam that you can place in your shower.

Make necessary lifestyle changes. Start getting 5 servings of veggies into your daily diet, quit smoking and maintain a healthy weight.


Tips & Warnings

  • Ask your doctor to give you a clinical exam. If you prefer, you can ask for a gynecologist or breast specialist to perform the exam. Some rural areas have mobile testing units that can help women get screened more frequently. Ask your doctor if she is aware of these services in your community.
  • The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers a helpful online document on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to employees who have cancer.
  • Know that you will be dealing with stress and may experience depression as a result of your cancer diagnosis. Connect with your hospital’s breast cancer support group or find a group through The American Cancer Society.


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