What screening tests are there for
breast cancer?

Mammograms are the most effective way to find breast cancer.  Other screenings include breast self exams and clinical breast exams. No regular screening tests are recommended for men.


A mammogram is a screening test conducted by a healthcare provider.  A machine is used to take pictures of the breasts and the pictures are then examined for lumps or other abnormalities.  Mammograms are the most effective way of detecting breast cancer.  They can detect much smaller lumps than either clinical breast exams or breast self exams.

Talk to your doctor to find out when you should start getting regular mammograms.

Breast Self Exam
Breast Self Exams help women learn what is normal for their breasts and recognize any changes they may want to see a doctor for.  The main purpose of the breast self exam is to feel for lumps in the breasts or arm pits, and to look for signs of dimpling or unusual discharge coming from the nipple.

Breast self exams should begin at age 20 and be conducted on a monthly basis, preferably on the same day of your menstrual cycle each month.  Many people may choose the day after they finish menstruating to conduct their self breast exam.

Clinical Breast Exam

Clinical breast exams are performed by doctors or nurses.  Similar to the breast self exam they are looking for lumps in the breast and any dimpling or unusual discharge.  Clinical breast exams may begin as early as the 20s and 30s every three years.  After age 40 they should be conducted yearly.

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