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  • Michael Frey, MD

Breast Fibroadenoma

Fibroadenomas are common noncancerous (benign) breast lumps. They are a benign breast disease that rarely increases breast cancer risk. Fibroadenomas may get bigger or smaller over time. Some disappear completely. Most lumps don’t require treatment.

Causes The cause of fibroadenomas is not known. They may be related to hormones. Girls who are going through puberty and women who are pregnant are most often affected. Fibroadenomas are found much less often in older women who have gone through menopause.

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

A fibroadenoma comprises breast gland tissue and tissue that helps support the breast gland tissue.

Symptoms Fibroadenomas are usually single lumps. Some women have several lumps that may affect both breasts. The lumps may be any of the following:

  • Easily moveable under the skin

  • Firm

  • Painless

  • Rubbery

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

  • Breast ultrasound

  • Mammogram (image below: fibroadenoma on mammogram)

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

  • Excisional (removal of the lump by a surgeon)

  • Stereotactic (needle biopsy using a machine like a mammogram)

  • Ultrasound-guided (needle biopsy using ultrasound)

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

Reasons to have it removed include:

  • Results of needle biopsy are not clear

  • Pain

  • Concern about cancer

  • The lump gets larger over time

  • Lump larger than 2-3 cm

If the lump is not removed, we will watch to see if it changes or grows. This may be done using:

  • Mammogram

  • Physical examination

  • Ultrasound

Ways to remove a fibroadenoma

  • Cryoablation destroys the lump by freezing it.

  • Surgical excision.

  • Radiofrequency ablation destroys the lump using high-frequency energy.


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