Fibroadenoma

Fibroadenoma is a noncancerous benign tumor in the breast. It is not a life-threatening condition, but still requires treatment. It usually appears as a moving lump in the breast, it occurs at any age, but is usually developed during puberty. Fibroadenomas are formed as a single or multiple lumps and can be found in both the breasts. They can be felt under the breast skin as rubbery moving marbles. Fibroadenomas are also found in males; however, the condition is in very rare.

Types of Fibroadenomas

  • Simple Fibroadenomas : They are about 1–3cm in size. These do not develop the risk of cancer in the future. These fibroadenomas look the same all over when they are viewed under a microscope.
  • Complex Fibroadenomas : These types of fibroadenomas consist of macrocysts (fluid-filled sacs and calcium deposits) when viewed under microscope. They are large enough to feel and have a slight risk of developing cancer in the future.
  • Giant or Juvenile Fibroadenomas : This type of fibroadenomas can grow more than 5cm. These are mostly found in teenage girls and hence called as juvenile fibroadenomas.

Symptoms

Fibroadenomas are felt as painless lumps in the breast that are smooth, rubbery texture and move easily under the breast skin. They may be round with well-borders. Sometimes, they may become tender and painful just before the periods.

When you observe the fibroadenoma symptoms, such as new breast lumps or change in the breast, then talk to your doctor immediately.

Causes

The fibroadenomas causes are unknown. Increased estrogen levels may involve in the formation and development of the tumors. The fibroadenomas are developed from the lobules where the glandular tissue and ducts grow forming a lump.

If you take oral contraceptives before the age of 20, it can increase the risk of fibroadenomas. These tumors may grow during pregnancy and shrink during menopause. Sometimes these fibroadenomas may resolve on their own.

Diagnosis

The doctors would recommend the following tests to diagnose a fibroadenoma:

Physical Examination : The doctor or the breast examiner will palpate the breasts manually to identify the lumps under the breast skin.

Ultrasound : A breast ultrasound will be performed while the patient lies on a table; a transducer (hand-held device) is moved over the skin of the breast. In ultrasound, high-frequency sound waves are used to produce an image on the screen. Women in early 20’s and 40’s are examined by ultrasound.

Mammogram : It is a breast X-ray taken by compressing the breast between two flat surfaces. Mostly women above 40 years of age are suggested for a mammogram.

Core Biopsy or Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) : It is performed to remove a part of the tissue for testing. It involves insertion of an aspiration needle into the breast to remove the tissue for laboratory testing to identify the type of fibroadenoma.

Treatment

The fibroadenomas can be left untreated if they are diagnosed as simple fibroadenomas. If the fibroadenoma is diagnosed as a complex fibroadenoma, then your doctor would suggest different fibroadenoma breast treatment methods for the fibroadenoma removal.

Surgery : A fibroadenoma surgery called excision biopsy will be performed under local or general anesthetic. The fibroadenoma will be cut and removed.

Vacuum Assisted Excision Biopsy : This will be carried under local anesthetic. A hollow probe connected to vacuum will be inserted into the breast to suck the fibroadenoma. This process may cause some bruising and pain for few days. The shape of the breast is not affected, but a dent is formed at the place where the fibroadenoma is removed.

There are some techniques where the fibroadenoma can be destroyed without its excision from the body by surgery. The techniques are:

Cryoablation : Fibroadenoma is destroyed by freezing it. In this technique, an ultrasound is used to guide a probe through the skin into the fibroadenoma. After insertion, gas is used to freeze and destroy it completely.

Radiofrequency Ablation : High-frequency energy is used to destroy the fibroadenoma. An ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to focus the energy beam on the fibroadenoma. These high-frequency energy waves destroy the fibroadenoma without affecting the nearby tissues.