What Are Breast Exams? Breast exams help doctors check that everything's normal. During a breast exam, a doctor or nurse practitioner will feel a woman's breasts to check any lumps and bumps and see if there are changes since the last exam. Doctors don't usually start doing breast exams until a woman is in her 20s. Why Do Girls Need Them? Most teens don't need breast exams. That's because it's rare for girls to have breast problems. Doctors usually just look at a girl's breasts during her yearly gyn checkup to see where she is in her development. But if you have a family history of breast problems, your doctor or nurse might give you a breast exam. What Happens During a Breast Exam? During a breast exam, a woman lies on her back. The doctor or nurse will press lightly on different parts of the breasts. This helps check for things like cysts. What If I Have a Lump in My Breast? As you grow and develop, you will probably notice small lumps and other changes in your breasts. You might also find your breasts are sensitive and tender around the time of your period. If you feel a lump in your breast, don't panic — breast cancer is extremely rare in teens. For teen girls, the most common type of breast lump is usually just part of normal breast growth. Lots of girls and women have something called fibrocystic breast changes. This is when small fluid-filled cysts in the breasts change size based on where a girl is in her menstrual cycle. Because these cysts have to do with normal hormone changes, they are typically more obvious and may hurt a bit just before a girl's period. Fibrocystic breast changes are nothing to worry about and don't need any kind of medical treatment. Infections also can cause breast lumps. So can an injury to the breast — like getting hit in the chest while playing sports. If you're worried about a lump in your breast, talk to your doctor. Also call your doctor if you have any of these problems: pain in your breast that seems unrelated to your period a red, hot, or swollen breast fluid or bloody discharge from your nipple a lump in your armpit or near your collarbone Most breast lumps are nothing to worry about, but it always helps to talk to a doctor or nurse about what to expect as your breasts grow. Getting checked out gives you peace of mind. Back to Articles Related Articles Why Are My Breasts Sore? Breast soreness is common among teens, but it can still seem worrying when it happens to you. Fortunately, breast pain is rarely serious. Find out why your breasts may hurt and what you can do about it. Read More My Breasts Ache During My Period. What Can I Do? Find out what the experts have to say. Read More Everything You Wanted to Know About Puberty Voice cracking? Clothes don't fit? Puberty can be a confusing time, but learning about it doesn't have to be. Read all about it. Read More When Will I Start Developing? Lots of girls and guys worry about when their bodies will develop. The fact is that physical development starts at different times and moves along at different rates in normal kids. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.