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Atlas of breast cancer early detection

Clinical breast examination (CBE) – Practical tips when performing breast examinations


  • Be sensitive to the woman and give her opportunities to express any concerns before and during the examination.
  • Throughout the examination, approach the woman gently and avoid any sudden or unexpected movements.
  • Perform each step gently and ask the woman if she feels any discomfort during the examination. Check her facial expressions and body movements to see whether she is uncomfortable.
  • Have a clean sheet or drape to cover the woman’s breast that is not being examined, if needed.
  • In premenopausal women, CBE is to be avoided during menstruation as the breasts may be tender. Postmenopausal women may have CBE performed at any time.
  • On average, the time required to perform a CBE is 10 minutes.


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