What is a fibroadenoma?

A fibroadenoma is a benign, or noncancerous, tumor of the breast. Female breasts are made up of three main types of tissues: glandular tissue (milk-producing glands), ductal tissue (ducts that carry milk from the glands to the nipple), and stroma (a combination of fatty tissue and fibrous or connective tissue). Fibroadenomas involve both fibrous and glandular tissues in the breast. They are the most common form of benign breast tumors.

Fibroadenomas commonly occur in women during their reproductive years, particularly during their twenties and thirties. The cause of these tumors is not known. However, genetics is not likely to play a role in the development of fibroadenomas. Women with dark skin tend to develop fibroadenomas more often and at an earlier age than light-skinned women. Similarly, women of higher socioeconomic status tend to develop fibroadenomas more frequently.

Fibroadenomas usually appear in one breast as single lumps that are smooth, rubbery, painless, and easily movable. However, approximately 10 to 15% of women will have multiple lumps that can occur in both breasts (Source: NIH).

Hormonal changes can cause fibroadenomas to grow in size. Hormonal changes occur at the onset of puberty and during menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and breastfeeding. The decline in hormone production during perimenopause and menopause can cause fibroadenomas to shrink unless you use hormone medications.

If you have a breast lump or lumps, you will need to have a biopsy performed to properly diagnose a fibroadenoma and to rule out more serious conditions, such as breast cancer. The treatment of fibroadenomas can vary depending on the size of the tumor, whether it is causing physical deformity of the breast, patient preference, and other factors.

Fibroadenomas are usually benign tumors of the breast and do not pose an immediate medical threat. However, you should consult your healthcare provider about any breast lump for proper evaluation and to rule out other serious conditions, such as breast cancer. Seek prompt medical care if you find a breast lump or have a fibroadenoma that grows larger or changes in any way.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of a fibroadenoma?

Fibroadenomas usually occur in one breast as a single lump. However, 10 to 15% of women may have multiple tumors that can affect both breasts. Fibroadenomas are usually benign, meaning they are not cancerous, but if they are large, they can cause physical deformities and changes in your breast. Fibroadenomas usually have the following characteristics:

CAUSES

What causes a fibroadenoma?

The cause of fibroadenomas is not known. The incidence of fibroadenoma tends to be higher in dark-skinned women and women of higher socioeconomic status. However, there does not appear to be a genetic link or a link with the age of menarche (the beginning of menstruation) or use of oral contraceptives.

What are the risk factors for a fibroadenoma?

A number of factors ar... Read more about fibroadenomacauses

TREATMENTS

How is a fibroadenoma treated?

A fibroadenoma is diagnosed with a biopsy to rule out more serious conditions, including breast cancer. Once the diagnosis of fibroadenoma is confirmed, you and your healthcare provider can decide on the best course of treatment for you. Small fibroadenomas may go away or regress by themselves. In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend leaving the lump in place and checking it on a ... Read more about fibroadenomatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.