Visual Check – During a breast exam, your Southwest Care Center physician will first check the appearance of your breasts. They may ask you to raise your arms above your head, leave them at your sides, or place your hands on your hips. These various positions allow the Southwest Care Center physician to look for any differences in size or shape between your breasts. Your physician will examine the skin and check for any irritation, dimpling, or other abnormal conditions. They may also lightly squeeze the nipples to check whether there is any discharge.
Manual Check – Using the pads of the fingers, your physician will feel your entire breast, underarm and collarbone area for any lumps or irregularities. Your physician will also check the lymph nodes near your breasts to see if they are enlarged.
Every woman is unique, and some women’s breast tissue may appear to have bumps or ridges (known as fibrocystic breasts) which are harmless. Dense or lumpy tissue is also considered mostly harmless (it is not cancer related), but it’s something your Southwest Care Center physician will want to note for the future.