During your regular medical check-up each year, your gynecologist will perform a clinical breast exam. This physical exam allows your doctor to feel your breasts, armpits, and breastbone area for any lumps or abnormalities. It is important that these exams are performed annually (starting at the age of 20) in order to improve the chances of detecting breast cancer early.
For this exam, you will be asked to undress from the waist up and will generally be provided with some form of cover. Your doctor will first observe the breasts for any changes in size or shape, or changes on the skin of the nipples. Next, your doctor will feel on and around the breasts for any abnormalities, and will look for changes from your previous exams. If you have noticed any breast changes, you should inform your doctor so that they can pay special attention to any areas you are concerned about.
If you are unsure how to examine your own breasts, this is a great time to ask your doctor. They will be able to teach you the proper techniques for performing a breast self-exam and give you information about what you should be looking for.