About Breast Fibroadenomas

A fibroadenoma is a benign (non-cancerous) growth in the breast that is made up of glandular and fibrous breast tissue.

It is the most common benign tumor of the breast. This condition is more common in adolescent girls and younger women and can develop quickly, sometimes within a few months. It will not become cancerous and does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer.

Usually fibroadenomas occur as a single lump. However, a small percentage of women have multiple lumps in one or both breasts.

The cause of fibroadenomas is unknown. Their development may be affected by estrogen, a female hormone. Fibroadenomas may enlarge during pregnancy or breast feeding. They have a tendency to shrink after menopause unless hormone replacement therapy is taken.

Risk Factors and Symptoms

Risk Factors for Breast Fibroadenomas

Following are some risk factors for developing a breast fibroadenoma:

  • Between the ages of 15 and 30
  • Currently pregnant
  • Being African American

Symptoms of Breast Fibroadenomas

Larger fibroadenomas tend to be round and distinct from surrounding breast tissue. They are moveable and may feel like a marble in the breast. They are typically painless.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing Breast Fibroadenomas

Fibroadenomas usually appear as dark gray masses on a mammogram. A definitive diagnosis can be made with a combination of breast ultrasound and a minimally invasive breast biopsy.

Treating this Condition

Surgery is not usually required, but many doctors will recommend it if the fibroadenomas continue to grow or change the shape of the breast.

Having surgery could cause the loss of some normal breast tissue. It can also cause scarring and changes in the shape of the breast. This could also make future exams and mammograms more difficult to interpret. Sometimes a new fibroadenoma will grow after one is surgically removed.

If a woman chooses not to have surgery, it is important that she have regular clinical breast exams to ensure that the mass isn’t growing.

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