Fibroadenoma is a type of tumor that can develop in the breast and typically occurs in women. Because fibroadenomas, which are quite common, are benign, they do not cause cancer. These tumors, which are usually painless, can easily move under the skin. It is very difficult to detect these tumors in someone other than a specialist doctor. Fibroadenomas are among the most common benign breast tumors in young women.
What is fibroadenoma?
Fibroadenoma is a benign (non-cancerous) breast tumor. Unlike breast cancer, which grows over time and can spread to other organs, a fibroadenoma does not spread and remains in the breast tissue. These tumors are mostly 1-2 cm in size. However, in rare cases, it can be larger than 5 cm. These tumors feel like a piece of marble moving under the skin.
What Are the Symptoms of Fibroadenoma?
Recognition of fibroadenomas, which usually do not cause any pain, by patients varies according to the size of the masses. Small-sized fibroadenomas may not be noticed by the patient. However, large fibroadenomas can be easily noticed by patients. Generally, these masses are felt as round-shaped, mobile, hard masses. Therefore, it is critical to have a routine breast exam. Apart from this, fibroadenomas can be easily detected by a radiology specialist with ultrasonography because of the young age of the patients.
Unlike breast cancer, fibroadenoma does not cause nipple discharge, swelling, redness, or skin irritation around the breast.
In 20% of fibroadenoma cases, the number of tumors is greater than one. It can appear in both breasts at the same time.
Why Does Fibroadenoma Occur?
It is not known exactly why tumors called fibroadenomas occur. Because these tumors usually appear during puberty or pregnancy and disappear on their own after menopause, changes in hormone levels are thought to be the root cause.
What Are the Types of Fibroadenoma?
Except for simple fibroadenomas, fibroadenomas are divided into different types:
- Complex fibroadenomas: A type of fibroadenoma that grows quickly.The result of the sample taken from the tissue can be diagnosed by the pathologist.
- Juvenile fibroadenomas: These are the most common type of breast mass in adolescent girls aged 10 to 18.Although there is a risk of growth of these fibroadenomas, it is possible to say that they often shrink and disappear.
- Giant fibroadenomas: These tumors can grow to be 5 cm in diameter.These tumors must be surgically removed from the body as they can put pressure on other breast tissue.
How is fibroadenoma diagnosed?
In cases where the person feels a lump in the breast, it is recommended to consult a specialist doctor without wasting time. Because the masses are found to be benign or malignant after a detailed examination by a specialist doctor,
Although it is understood whether the mass is fibroadenoma in the examination performed by the specialist doctor, a test may be requested in some cases for a definitive result. Depending on the patient’s age and pregnancy status, an ultrasound or mammography scan may be requested. Both of these methods are extremely fast and easy to apply. Fibroadenoma can be easily diagnosed with high accuracy by experienced radiologists with structural appearance.
A biopsy is the most definitive way to determine whether the mass is a fibroadenoma. Biopsy is the name given to the process of taking a small piece from the mass with the help of a thin needle. Biopsy is divided into three types: fine needle aspiration, core needle biopsy, and surgical biopsy. The part obtained in the biopsy procedure is tested in the laboratory, and the presence of fibroadenoma is detected.
How Is Fibroadenoma Treated?
In some cases, no treatment may be needed for the fibroadenoma. These tumors usually shrink or disappear on their own. Therefore, in some cases, the doctor may prefer to wait to see if the mass will enlarge.
If a fibroadenoma is found during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, the doctor may similarly wait for the hormone level to return to normal.
If the patient has a history of more than one fibroadenoma and these fibroadenomas were surgically removed, the doctor may likewise delay the removal of new masses. The important point here is that it has been confirmed by the test results that the masses that have occurred in the past are fibroadenomas.
In cases where the fibroadenoma gradually grows, the doctor may suspect that this mass will not be a fibroadenoma, or may be concerned that the fibroadenoma is damaging the surrounding tissues. In this case, fibroadenomas may need to be surgically removed. Depending on the size, location, and number of fibroadenomas, lumpectomy or cryoablation may be used. Lumpectomy, which means surgical removal of the mass, is a very simple operation. Cryoablation, on the other hand, is a treatment method in which more advanced cosmetic results can be obtained by making use of advanced medical imaging technologies without the need for surgical intervention.
After treatment, it can be said that most patients need no more than a routine checkup.
Finally, it should be kept in mind that the presence of simple fibroadenoma may increase the risk of developing breast cancer. In the presence of complex fibroadenoma, the risk of breast cancer may be slightly higher compared to simple fibroadenoma. In either case, tumors should be examined by a specialist doctor and followed up regularly.