NCCN Guidelines for Patients™: Breast Cancer
Part 2: About my cancer
Clinical breast exam
Your doctor will feel your breasts to see whether there is a lump or thickening
that is not like normal breast tissue. Your breasts may be felt while you sit or
stand up as well as when you recline. Your doctor will also check for enlarged
lymph nodes in your armpits and around the collarbone. Some women feel
uncomfortable having their breasts touched by their doctor. Keep in mind that
this exam provides important information and takes only a short time.
2.5 Breast cancer screening
Breast cancer screening is for all
women so that any disease can be
found early. Signs of breast cancer
may be noticed by you or your doctor.
You may detect a lump during a
self-exam of your breasts. You may
also notice fluid coming from your
nipple or a change in the shape of
your breasts. If you see any of these
changes, tell your doctor.
Breast cancer may also be found by
screening tests. Which screening tests
you receive is based on your age,
medical history, and other factors.
Screening can include increasing
breast awareness as well as the tests
The doctor will ask you questions
about your general health and any
symptoms you may have noticed.
You will also be asked if anyone in
your family has had cancer. If so,
the doctor will ask about the types
of cancer and how old your relatives
were when their cancer was found.
Figure 8. Pictures showing results of mammogram
Illustration Copyright © 2011 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.
Women may be at normal or increased risk for breast cancer. Risk is based on
several conditions. For example, prior radiotherapy in the chest area, strong
family history or genetic risk, and previous breast cancer may all increase
your risk for getting breast cancer. Your doctor may recommend that you have
certain screening tests at specific time points based on your breast cancer risk.