A breast exam is a self-inspection of your breasts. During a breast exam, you use your eyes and hands to observe the appearance and feel of your breasts.

Breast exams, once thought essential for early breast cancer detection, are now considered optional. While screening mammograms have been proved to save lives, there's no evidence that breast exams can do this. What's now stressed is breast awareness — being familiar with the normal consistency of your breasts and the underlying tissue, as well as inspecting your breasts for new changes that may signify potential breast problems.

Jul. 02, 2011