Unusual breast changes, such as a breast lump, breast pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or a recent change in breast size or shape, must be evaluated by a physician. You should always mention anything suspicious to your doctor.
- To help diagnose breast disease, the doctor will take a medical history that will include questions on your general health, symptoms and their duration, age, menstrual status, number of prior and actual pregnancies, drugs taken, and relatives with benign breast conditions or breast cancer.
- During the physical exam, the doctor will look carefully at your breasts both while you are sitting and lying down. You will be asked to raise the arms over the head or let them hang by the sides. The doctor will check the breasts for any changes in the skin, any discharge from the nipples, or any difference in appearance between the two breasts. Then, using the pads of the fingers looking for lumps, the doctor examines the entire breast, the underarm, and the collarbone area.
- If the woman is younger than 40 years, without history of cancer, the doctor may recommend a sonogram (ultrasound study) of the breasts depending on findings from the physical examination.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2015
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