Breast Cancer Exams and Screenings

Early detection of breast cancer can save your life. Here are the tests you need and when to get them.

  • Denise Grady

Clinical Breast Examination


A doctor or nurse physically examines the breasts to check for lumps or irregularities.

When you should have it: Recommendations vary, but your doctor should manually examine your breasts when you are 20. By the time you are 30, you should have a manual exam every year.

What it can tell about you: Whether a lump or thickening is present.

Risks: Not all doctors are trained or skilled in this kind of examination. Lumps may be missed, or normal variations in breast tissue may be mistaken for tumors, leading to needless worry and expensive procedures.