1 What is Fibroadenoma?

Fibroadenomas are solid, noncancerous tumors of the breast. They are the most common breast lumps in young women. It mostly affects adolescent girls and women under the age of 30.

A fibroadenoma is usually painless and might feel like a marble in the breast when the skin. Fibroadenomas can vary in size, and they can get bigger or shrink on their own.

Treatment usually includes monitoring to detect changes in the size or consistency of fibroadenoma, a biopsy to evaluate the lumpnor surgery to remove it.

2 Symptoms

Solid lumps in the breast is the main symptom of fibroadenomas. They usually have round distinct borders, can be easily moved and are firm or rubbery.

They are painless in most patients. Fibroadenomas can feel like marbles under the skin and vary in size.

3 Causes

The exact cause of fibroadenomas is unknown. However, most doctors believe it occurs due to imbalances in the levels of reproductive hormones.

They mostly occur during the reproductive years and can become bigger during pregnancy or when a woman is using hormone therapy.

They usually shrink after menopause due to a decrease in the level of hormones.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of fibroadenomas is done by performing several tests.

A physical examination is carried out in order for the doctor to search for lumps in both breasts. If a lump is found on physical examination the following tests can be used:

  • diagnostic mammography, x-rays are used to produce images of the suspected areas of the breasts
  • breast ultrasound usually used if a patient is younger than 30. This test helps doctors to check if the lumps are solid or contain fluid
  • fine needle aspiration, in which a small needle is used to drain the contents of the lump in the breast
  • core needle biopsy, a large needle is used to collect samples of the breast tissue for further lab analysis.

5 Treatment

Most cases of fibroadenomas do not require surgery. However, treatment of fibroadenomas is available. Treatments include nonsurgical management and surgery. The following surgical procedures can be performed to remove fibroadenomas: 

  • lumpectomy or excisional biopsy, a procedure where the surgeon removes breast tissue so that further lab tests can be carried out.
  • cryoablation, in which a doctor inserts a thin device (cryoprobe) into the area of the fibroadenoma. The doctor then uses gas to freeze the breast tissue.Sometimes fibroadenomas can grow after excision is performed.

6 Risks and Complications

Fibroadenomas do not increase the risk of breast cancer. However, if they contain cysts or calcifications (dense opaque tissue) they may increase the risk of having breast cancer. This type of fibroadenoma is known as a complex fibroadenoma.