Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 719–722 | Cite as

The Clinical Breast Exam: A Skill that Should Not Be Abandoned



The clinical breast exam (CBE) is an important tool in the care of women. However, the utility of the screening CBE has been called into question. This article discusses the importance of the CBE as a physical diagnosis tool. Recommendations regarding screening with CBE are reviewed, and evidence surrounding breast cancer screening using CBE is briefly summarized. Clinicians should strive to provide high quality CBEs as part of the general clinical exam for women, particularly those who present with breast complaints, and for patients who choose to have CBE screening. In conclusion, there is a role for the CBE in the care of women, and clinicians should be proficient at performing these exams. Simulation teaching technologies are now available at Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) facilities to enable clinicians to improve their CBE skills.


clinical breast exam women’s health medical education simulation 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.General Internal Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of MedicineBirmingham Veterans Affairs Medical CenterBirminghamUSA

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