This exam, performed by your provider, is a very important part of the yearly well woman exam. It should be done for women of all ages to look for any evidence of breast disease. A good exam starts by sitting up with arms above the head for any signs of an abnormal look to the breast such as dimpling, nipple inversion (where the nipple turns in, not out), an orange peel appearance or any redness, soreness, rash or swelling. Your provider will touch each breast with the pads of the three middle fingers for evidence of lumps or thickening from the bottom of the breast to the collar bone and up under each arm pit. This area is all breast tissue and needs to be checked.
When, you lie down, the exam is performed again, looking for the same abnormal findings. Nipple discharge is important to access and a gentle squeeze on each nipple is done for this purpose. Even though you may have a negative clinical breast exam, you should continue monthly breast self-exams, performed the same way, in order to give yourself the best protection against breast cancer.