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Definition of Fibroadenoma of Breast
A benign (noncancerous) tumor of the breast composed of a mix of fibrous and glandular tissues.
Fibroadenoma is the most common benign breast tumor and most often develops in women under age 30.
Researchers do not know what causes fibroadenoma. Many women who develop fibroadenomas have higher than normal levels of estrogens in their blood circulation, though researchers do not know the extent to which this contributes. Fibroadenomas tend to grow during pregnancy and shrink after menopause, supporting at least some level of hormonal involvement.
Most often the woman detects fibroadenoma as a lump she feels in her breast during breast selfexamination (bse) or the doctor finds the fibroadenoma during the breast exam portion of the woman’s routine medical examination. Fibroadenomas are characteristically firm, smooth, oval or round, and rubbery in texture.
They move freely (are not attached to any surrounding tissues). Biopsy is the only means of definitive diagnosis. Mammogram is often not helpful in women under age 30 because their breast tissue is quite dense, which makes it difficult to distinguish growths within the breast.
As well, the radiologic characteristics of fibroadenoma are very similar to those of breast cysts and breast cancer. Ultrasound imaging is sometimes useful to visualize the growth though does not provide definitive diagnosis either.
Treatment and Removal
Some doctors recommend surgery to remove a fibroadenoma because although fibroadenoma does not evolve into cancer, there is a slight possibility cancer may develop within the epithelial cells the fibroadenoma contains. Other doctors suggest a course of watchful waiting when the diagnosis is certain and the fibroadenoma is small.
About 10 percent of fibroadenomas spontaneously disappear within a year or two of their discovery. Should the fibroadenoma grow or change, the doctor may biopsy it again or remove it.
See also FIBROCYSTIC BREAST DISEASE.
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