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What Are Breast Exams? (And Why Are They Important?)

breast cancer awareness

It’s important for every woman to have regular breast exams. We understand that breast cancer can be a scary topic, but checkups at your local Women’s Center are the best way to stay healthy and monitor any changes in your breasts. Here’s what you need to know about breast exams and why they’re so important.

What Are Breast Exams? (And Why Are They Important?)

Before your exam, you may hear doctors discuss the difference between a mammogram and a breast exam. While both examinations have the same goal — finding breast cancer — a mammogram is a type of X-ray that takes an overall picture of the breasts. During a breast exam, your doctor will use her hands to examine your breasts, checking for any abnormalities that may be causing changes in your breast tissue.

Can I Do a Breast Self-Examination?

Breast self-exams are an important part of regular breast care, but they are not a substitute for mammograms and breast exams. Remember, self-exams can only tell you if something exists in one or both breasts; they cannot tell you whether it is a normal response to your monthly cycle or something that needs to be checked further. Regular breast exams are very important because they can help you detect breast disease early on.

Shower Breast Check

One of the best ways to know what your breasts are normally like is to do a shower breast check. Wash your breasts using the same motion you would use to wash under your breasts if you were taking a shower, and look for changes in your normal breast tissue.

Mirror Check

Another good way to know what your breasts are normally like is to check them in the mirror. Look at the breast tissue closest to your chest and observe the skin, color, and texture of the breast tissue.

Breast Self-Exam

It’s important to know your breasts well enough to notice changes. If you notice something new or different about the texture, size, shape, or even the skin color of your breasts, see your doctor. Something may be wrong, and early detection can save your life.

How Often Should I Get a Breast Exam?

The national standard for breast cancer screening includes a combination of a mammogram plus breast exam every one to two years for women ages 40 to 74 and an annual clinical breast exam by a health care professional for women ages 20 to 39. However, you may need to be examined more frequently if you have risk factors for breast cancer.

When in Doubt, Seek Medical Advice

If you have any concerns or questions about your breast health, please contact your doctor. Your physician will perform a breast exam to help you determine if your breast tissue feels normal. If changes are noted, your doctor will discuss the possible reasons for the changes and what follow-up, if any, may be appropriate.


Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths among American women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. But if it’s caught early enough, it can be cured. And the best way to catch it early and save lives is through a woman’s annual breast exam.

If you need access to a body health scanner, come to Craft Body Scan. With a full-body scan from Craft Body Scan, you can help increase your chances of survival. Our non-invasive, low-dose scanner can detect signs of silent killers like cancer, tumors, and heart abnormalities so you can act fast.

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