A fibroadenoma might feel firm, smooth, rubbery or hard and has a well-defined shape. Usually, it will be painless but it feels like a marble in the breast, that moves easily under the skin when examined. Fibroadenomas vary in size, and can enlarge or shrink on their own. Fibroadenomas are among the most common noncancerous (benign) breast lumps in young women. Treatment may include monitoring to detect changes in size or feel, a biopsy to evaluate the lump or surgery to remove it.
- Round with distinct, smooth borders
- Easily moved
- Firm or rubbery
- You detect a new breast lump
- You notice other changes in your breasts
- A breast lump you’ve had checked before has grown or otherwise changed and appears to be separate from the surrounding breast tissue
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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 the use of hormone therapy, and might shrink after menopause, when hormone levels decrease.
In addition to simple fibroadenomas, there are:
Complex fibroadenomas contain changes, such as overgrowth of cells (hyperplasia) that can grow rapidly. A pathologist makes the diagnosis of a complex fibroadenoma after reviewing the tissue from a biopsy.
Juvenile fibroadenoma is the common type of breast lump found in girls and adolescents aged between 10 and 18. These fibroadenomas can grow large, but it’ll mostly shrink over time, and some of them disappear.
These can grow larger than 2 inches (5 centimeters). They need to be removed because they can press on or replace the other breast tissue.
Although usually benign, some phyllodes tumors can become cancerous (malignant). Doctors usually recommend that these be removed.
A physical examination will be conducted and your breasts will be palpated (examined manually). A breast ultrasound or mammogram imaging test might also be ordered. A breast ultrasound involves lying on a table while a hand-held device called a transducer is moved over the skin of the breast, creating a picture on a screen. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast, taken while the breast is compressed between two flat surfaces.
A fine needle aspiration or biopsy may be performed to remove tissue for testing. This involves inserting a needle into the breast and removing small pieces of the tumor. The tissue will be sent to a lab for microscopic examination to find the type and nature (malign ot benign) of the fibroadenoma.