Fibroadenoma - breast

Definition

Fibroadenoma of the breast is a benign tumor. Benign tumor means it is not caused by cancer.

Causes

The cause of fibroadenomas is not known. There may be a connection to a problem with genes.

Fibroadenoma is the most common benign tumor of the breast. It is the most common breast tumor in women under age 30.

A fibroadenoma is made up of breast gland tissue and tissue that helps support the breast gland tissue.

African American women tend to develop fibroadenomas more often and at an earlier age than Caucasian women.

Symptoms

Fibroadenomas are usually single lumps. About 10% to 15% of women have several lumps that may affect both breasts.

Lumps may be any of the following:

Lumps have smooth, well-defined borders. They may grow in size, especially during pregnancy. Fibroadenomas often get smaller after menopause (if a woman is not taking hormone therapy).

Exams and Tests

After a physical exam, one or both of the following tests are usually done:

A biopsy may be done to get a definite diagnosis. Different types of biopsies include:

Women in their teens or early 20s may not need a biopsy if the lump goes away on its own or if the lump does not change over a long period.

Treatment

If a biopsy shows that the lump is a fibroadenoma, the lump may be left in place or removed.

You and your surgeon can discuss whether or not to remove the lump. Reasons to have it removed include:

If the lump is not removed, your health care provider will watch to see if it changes or grows. This may be done using

Sometimes, the lump is destroyed without removing it:

Outlook (Prognosis)

Women with fibroadenoma have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer later in life.

If the lump is left in place and watched carefully, it may need to be removed at a later time if it changes or grows.

In very rare cases, the lump is cancer, and will need further treatment.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you notice:


Review Date: 11/26/2014
Reviewed By: Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Editorial update: 06/12/2015. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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