When you feel a lump in your breast, it’s easy to think the worst. But not all lumps are cancerous, and while it’s important that all new lumps, bumps, and irregularities be checked out, 80 percent of breast lumps are benign. But it’s important to get a mammogram, and a biopsy if recommended, to be sure. If a lump is not benign, the sooner you know the sooner you can act.
Fibroadenomas are benign breast lumps that are quite common, especially among women between 15 and 35. They’re small, hard, lumps that can be moved around under the skin, and they may or may not require removal.
Here’s what you need to know about fibroadenomas:
Fibroadenomas (fie-bro-ad-uh-NO-muz) usually feel firm, smooth, rubbery, and hard. They have a well-defined shape, often like a marble, and they vary in size. They may grow or shrink, and they can be present in one or both breasts.
Any lumps a man or woman detects in their breast area should be checked out by a doctor to rule out cancer or another complication. Men can get fibroadenomas, though they are much more common in women.
If a doctor determines a lump is a fibroadenoma, the only treatment necessary may be monitoring as the lumps are not tender or painful. Removal may be necessary if the fibroadenoma is complex, becomes too large, or if a doctor feels it increases a person’s risk of cancer.
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Causes and Types
It’s unknown what causes fibroadenomas to form, but they may be related to hormones as they often appear during reproductive years, grow during pregnancy, and shrink after menopause. There are a few different types:
- Simple fibroadenomas. These look the same all over when viewed under a microscope and are smaller than two inches (five centimeters) across.
- Complex fibroadenomas. These may grow rapidly due to an overgrowth of cells and may increase risk of breast cancer. They tend to occur in older patients.
- Juvenile fibroadenomas. These occur in adolescents (usually females) between ages 10 and 18. Over time, these lumps may grow, shrink, or even disappear.
- Giant fibroadenomas. These are lumps larger than two inches. Because of their size, they may press on or replace other breast tissue and require removal.
- Phyllodes tumors. This is another type of benign tumor, but because they may become cancerous, doctors will usually recommend they be removed.
Women with fibroadenomas have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer, but the increase is small. Women with one or more fibroadenomas, or any breast changes, should be vigilant with breast exams and mammograms to make sure the lumps are not growing or changing.
Stay healthy, friends!
Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.