Fibroadenomas of the Breast
What is a fibroadenoma?
A fibroadenoma is a noncancerous (benign) breast lump. These smooth, rounded, solid tumors consist of fibrous tissue and glandular tissue that forms a mass. In very, very rare cases, there is breast cancer found in association with a fibroadenoma.
How common are fibroadenomas?
Benign breast lumps, including fibroadenomas, are common. A fibroadenoma is the most common type of benign breast lump.
What are the types of fibroadenomas?
Fibroadenomas are along a spectrum of changes in the breast supporting tissue.
- Simple fibroadenomas are the most common. These lumps don’t tend to increase breast cancer risk.
- Complex fibroadenomas, fibroepithelial lesions, benign phyllodes tumors are also on this spectrum of breast changes. These lumps need to be excised.
Symptoms and Causes
What causes fibroadenomas?
Doctors don’t know why some people get fibroadenomas. Younger women are more likely to have them, and they can grow with pregnancy and lactation and regress again afterward.
What are the signs and symptoms of fibroadenomas?
Fibroadenomas are often smooth, slippery oval mobile masses that grow to 2 to 3 cm in the breast tissue and then can either go away on their own, stay the same or enlarge. If they enlarge, become painful, or change and become worrisome in appearance, they are surgically removed.
Diagnosis and Tests
How is a fibroadenoma diagnosed?
Contact your healthcare provider anytime you notice a breast lump or breast changes. Some fibroadenomas are too small to notice. If you or your provider finds a lump, your provider may perform these tests to confirm a fibroadenoma:
Management and Treatment
How are fibroadenomas managed or treated?
Some fibroadenomas shrink in size or disappear without treatment. If a biopsy confirms the lump isn’t cancerous, your healthcare provider may recommend that you be checked clinically and possibly with ultrasound every six months for the next two years to make sure the fibroadenoma stays the same.
Can I get fibroadenomas more than once?
Women who are prone to forming fibroadenomas will often form more than one.
How can I prevent fibroadenomas?
Unfortunately, you can’t do anything to lower your risk of fibroadenomas. However, you can take these steps to reduce breast cancer risk and catch the disease early when it’s most treatable:
- Abstain from alcohol or drink in moderation.
- Get to know your breasts through self-examinations.
- Go in for regular mammogram screenings.
- Make smart food choices, exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
Outlook / Prognosis
What is the prognosis (outlook) for people with fibroadenomas?
Most people who have fibroadenomas or benign breast disease don’t develop breast cancer. Still, you should follow the recommended screening schedule set forth by your provider and report any changes in your breasts.
When should I call the doctor about fibroadenomas of the breast?
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
- Breast changes (growth in the fibroadenoma), or pain.
- Newly discovered breast lump.
- Nipple discharge or rash.
What questions should I ask my doctor about fibroadenomas of the breast?
If you have a fibroadenoma, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best monitoring/ treatment for me?
- How can I tell the difference between a benign and cancerous breast lump?
- How frequently should I get a mammogram or other cancer screening?
- Am I at increased risk for the development of breast cancer?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Finding a breast lump can be scary, but most lumps aren’t cancerous. Once you know what a benign fibroadenoma feels like, you can quickly notice any suspicious changes and identify new benign lumps. Most people with fibroadenomas don’t need treatment. Some lumps disappear on their own, but never assume a new lump is benign without getting it checked!