- Fibroadenoma vs. Cancer
- Removal Surgery
What are fibroadenomas?
A fibroadenoma is the most common type of benign, non-cancerous lump of the breast. It usually occurs in young women between the ages of 15 and 40. They may also arise during pregnancy or breastfeeding. They usually do not cause complications and can be treated easily.
Fibroadenomas should not be confused with fibroids. A fibroid is a noncancerous mass that occurs in the uterus.
What are the types of fibroadenomas?
Fibroadenomas are classified into five types based on the physical characteristics and how it appears under the microscope.
- Simple fibroadenomas: They are small and appear uniform when examined under a microscope.
- Complex fibroadenomas: These are bigger and tend to affect older women. They increase in size rapidly.
- Juvenile fibroadenomas: These are the most common type of breast lump occurring in young girls and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 years. They tend to grow to a large size. However, these usually shrink over time and may even disappear.
- Giant fibroadenomas: Giant fibroadenomas can grow to a size larger than two inches.
- Phyllodes tumor: This tumor arises from another kind of tissue in the breast. It needs to be monitored. Most doctors recommend excising it.
Can fibroadenomas turn into breast cancer?
Although it is rare, complex fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumors have a chance to develop into malignant breast cancer. Hence, timely medical attention and management of the tumor are highly recommended.
What are the causes of fibroadenoma?
The exact causes of fibroadenomas are not known. It is believed to be related to changes in reproductive hormones because fibroadenomas tend to occur in premenopausal women.
Fibroadenomas have been found to change characteristics with hormonal variations. They may increase during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and use of hormone therapy. They may shrink after menopause or when hormone levels decrease e.g., withdrawal of hormone therapy.
How is a fibroadenoma different from a cancerous lump?
Fibroadenomas are generally asymptomatic and hence usually discovered on routine examination by self or the doctor. Common clinical features of fibroadenomas are:
- Fibroadenomas are painless
- They are usually small, between one and two centimeters
- They are round with smooth edges
- The lump is mobile and can be moved around within the breast tissue. Hence, fibroadenomas are also called “breast mice.”
- It feels firm (similar to the tip of the nose) and rubbery.
- Multiple lumps may be seen in one or both breasts.
- It is slow growing.
- Size may increase during pregnancy, hormonal therapy, or breastfeeding (breastfeeding is not affected).
- Larger fibroadenomas may cause breast asymmetry, causing aesthetic concerns.
|Seen in premenopausal women||Seen in postmenopausal women|
|Feels round, firm, rubbery with smooth edges||Feels hard with parts of firm areas|
|Typically painlessl||Painless in the early stages. Pain may develop in the later stages due to complications|
|Freely mobile within the breast||Usually fixed to underlying breast tissue or skin, hence not mobile|
|Skin over the lump is normal and not involved||Skin involvement leads to puckering and redness of the skin, giving an orange peel appearance|
|Nipple is not involved||Nipple may be involved, causing change in the shape of the nipple. Usually appears pulled in. nipple discharge and bleeding may be present|
|Usually slow glowing||Fast growing and can spread to other organ systems|
|Can be managed conservatively using a “wait and watch” approach||Requires urgent medical and surgical care|
How are fibroadenomas diagnosed?
The diagnosis involves detailed history taking and physical examination by a doctor. Diagnostic tests like ultrasonography, mammogram, or biopsy may be required to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other types of lumps.
Should fibroadenomas be removed?
Fibroadenomas can be managed conservatively if they are asymptomatic. Regular follow-up and routine self-examination may be required to monitor the size and detect any changes in the characteristics of the lump. Sometimes fibroadenomas shrink and even disappear on their own with age, menopause, postpartum, and when reproductive hormone levels decrease.
Surgical removal of fibroadenoma is indicated in case of the following:
- Sudden increase in the size of a long-standing lump,
- Rapidly growing lump,
- Breast asymmetry,
- Giant fibroadenomas: Because their large size can create breast asymmetry and cause the affected breast to press on the other.
- Complex fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumor: Because they rapidly increase in size and have the possibility to turn cancerous.
Regular follow-up may be required after surgery.
Latest Cancer News
Daily Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Fibroadenomas of the breast
Breast abscesses and masses
Top Can Fibroadenomas Turn Into Breast Cancer Related Articles
Breast AnatomyThe breast, or mammary gland is made up of lobules, milk producing glands, and a system of ducts to transport milk. Both males and females have breasts. Abnormal enlargement of breasts in men is referred to as gynecomastia. In women, during pregnancy the breasts grow larger and produce milk. Common medical conditions that affect the breasts include breast cancer, breast lumps, fibrocystic changes and cysts, mastitis, and benign tumors (fibroadenomas).
Breast Anatomy PictureThe breast refers to the front of the chest or, more specifically, to the mammary gland. See a picture of Breast Anatomy and learn more about the health topic.
Breast BiopsyThere are several types of breast biopsies, which are diagnostic procedures to examine part or all of suspicious breast growth(s). The types of breast biopsies include fine needle aspiration (FNA), core needle breast biopsy (CNB), vacuum-assisted breast biopsy, and excision breast biopsy (surgery, lumpectomy). The type of breast biopsy procedure depends upon the location and size of the growth(s).
Young Women & Breast CancerIs breast cancer genetic? Should I get tested for the BRCA gene? What every young women should know about breast cancer. Discover the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and other crucial breast cancer facts.
Where Breast Cancer SpreadsWhen breast cancer spreads, or metastasizes, it often goes to these five places: the lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs, and brain. See how breast cancer metastasis affects the body, possible symptoms, and treatment.
Breast Cancer SlidesLearn about breast cancer causes, symptoms, tests, recovery, and prevention. Discover the types of treatments such as surgery and drug therapies as well as the survival rate for breast cancer.
Breast Cancer QuizThis Breast Cancer Quiz features signs, symptoms, facts, causes, common forms, terms, risk factors, statistics, and more. Increase your awareness of breast cancer now!
Breast Lumps (in Women)Breast lumps in women can have a variety of causes such as breast inflammation, infection, injuries, cancer, and non-cancerous growths. Breast lumps in women are diagnosed with physical exam, mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, and biopsy. Treatment of breast lumps in women depend on the cause.
Breast ReconstructionAfter a mastectomy, breast reconstruction is performed to replace the skin, breast tissue, and the nipple. A patient's goals, medical conditions, cancer treatment, and previous surgery affect the type and timing of the reconstructive surgery.
Breast Reconstruction Without ImplantsIf a woman doesn't want to have breast implants after a mastectomy, she may have her breast(s) reconstructed with her own body tissue. This is commonly known as a flap procedure. There are two methods of flap procedures: tunneling and free-flap. Side effects include pain, itching, numbness or tingling, and fluid collection under the wound.
Breast Self ExamA woman can use a breast self-exam to check for changes, lumps, or thickenings, in her breasts. Any unusual changes should be reported to the doctor. A breast self-exam is one way to detect lumps that may be cancerous. Early detection and treatment of breast cancer greatly increases the likelihood for survival.
Chemotherapy Treatment for Breast CancerChemotherapy refers to medications that are administered to kill or slow the growth of cancerous cells. Chemotherapy may be given orally or intravenously. Side effects of breast cancer chemotherapy may include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, increased risk of infection, fatigue, and easy bruising. Receiving chemotherapy causes changes in a woman's menstrual cycle.
Fibrocystic Breast DiseaseFibrocystic breast condition (sometimes called fibrocystic breast disease) is characterized by lumpiness and usually pain, tenderness, and discomfort in one or both breasts. The condition is very common and benign (not malignant). Fibrocystic breast condition is the most common cause of "lumpy breasts" in women. A common symptom of fibrocystic breast condition is breast pain or discomfort.
Some women with fibrocystic breasts have mile breast tenderness or pain. Other women with the condition may have very painful and tender breasts with lumpy areas that can be felt. Fibrocystic breast condition is most common in women after age 30, which continues through perimenopause and menopause. Women with the condition often have fewer problems after menopause (postmenopause).
Fibrocystic breast condition that involves hyperplasia is associated with a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. Atypical hyperplasia is associated with a moderately increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with fibrocystic without fibrocystic changes.
Natural and home remedies to help relieve breast pain include NSAIDs like aspiring, Aleve, and Advil. Prescription medication also may help relieve symptoms of fibrocystic breasts.
Male Breast CancerMale breast cancer accounts for 1% of all breast cancers, and most cases are found in men between the ages of 60 and 70. A man's risk of developing breast cancer is one in 1,000. Signs and symptoms include a firm mass located below the nipple and skin changes around the nipple, including puckering, redness or scaling, retraction and ulceration of the nipple. Treatment depends upon staging and the health of the patient.
What Is Usually the First Sign of Breast Cancer?A lump in the breast or in the armpits is often the first sign of breast cancer. This may be felt while in the shower. There may or may not be changes in the structure of the breast. Other early signs include changes in breast skin, breast pain and others.