A fibroadenoma is a type of noncancerous (benign) breast lump. Unless you have symptoms that bother you, treatment might not be needed.
Fibroadenomas (fy-broe-ad-uh-NO-muhz) are solid, noncancerous breast lumps that occur most often in women between the ages of 15 and 35.
A fibroadenoma might feel firm, smooth, rubbery or hard and has a well-defined shape. Usually painless, it might feel like a marble in your breast, moving easily under your skin when examined. Fibroadenomas vary in size, and they can enlarge or shrink on their own.
Fibroadenomas are among the most common noncancerous (benign) breast lumps in young women. Treatment might include monitoring to detect changes in size or feel, a biopsy to evaluate the lump or surgery to remove it.
Fibroadenomas are solid breast lumps that usually are:
You can have one or many fibroadenomas in one or both breasts.
In healthy women, normal breast tissue often feels lumpy. Make an appointment with your doctor if:
The cause of fibroadenomas is unknown, but they might be related to reproductive hormones. Fibroadenomas occur more often during your reproductive years, can become bigger during pregnancy or with use of hormone therapy, and might shrink after menopause, when hormone levels decrease.
In addition to simple fibroadenomas, there are:
Most fibroadenomas don't affect your risk of breast cancer. However, your breast cancer risk might increase slightly if you have a complex fibroadenoma or a phyllodes tumor.
During a clinical breast exam, your doctor will check both breasts for lumps and other problems. Some fibroadenomas are too small to feel, so they can only be discovered in imaging tests.
If you have a lump that can be felt (palpable), your doctor might recommend certain tests or procedures, depending on your age and the characteristics of the lump.
Breast ultrasound. This technology uses sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the breast. Your doctor might recommend a breast ultrasound in addition to a mammogram to evaluate a breast lump if you have dense breast tissue.
For women younger than 30 who have a breast lump, the doctor likely will order a breast ultrasound first to evaluate the lump.
If a mammogram indicates that you have a breast lump or other abnormality, a breast ultrasound might be used to further assess the lump. A breast ultrasound can help your doctor determine whether a breast lump is solid or filled with fluid. A solid mass is more likely a fibroadenoma; a fluid-filled mass is more likely a cyst.
In many cases, fibroadenomas require no treatment. However, some women choose surgical removal for their peace of mind.
If your doctor is reasonably certain that your breast lump is a fibroadenoma — based on the results of the clinical breast exam, imaging test and biopsy — you might not need surgery.
You might decide against surgery because:
If you choose not to have surgery, it's important to monitor the fibroadenoma with follow-up visits to your doctor for breast ultrasounds to detect changes in the appearance or size of the lump. If you later become worried about the fibroadenoma, you can reconsider surgery to remove it.
Your doctor might recommend surgery to remove the fibroadenoma if one of your tests — the clinical breast exam, an imaging test or a biopsy — is abnormal or if the fibroadenoma is extremely large, gets bigger or causes symptoms.
Procedures to remove a fibroadenoma include:
After a fibroadenoma is removed, it's possible for one or more new fibroadenomas to develop. New breast lumps need to be assessed with a mammogram, ultrasound and possibly biopsy — to determine if the lump is a fibroadenoma or might become cancerous.
You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or gynecologist. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet. Make a list of:
Bring a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.
For a fibroadenoma, basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
June 23rd, 2021