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SEER Training Modules

Physical Examination

As part of the physical examination, the examining physician will systematically record his/her findings relative to the various body regions--head and neck, thorax, abdomen, lymph nodes, and extremities. He will closely observe all external surfaces and palpate various portions of the body. The act of palpation involves the application of fingers with light pressure to the body for the purpose of determining the consistency of the parts beneath the surface. For example, some enlarged organs of the body and some lymph nodes can be palpated. Cancer of the skin is quite readily detected by observation and palpation.

One of the most important diagnostic statements is located at the end of the physical examination. This statement records the diagnostic impression(s) of the examination.