Are You Experiencing Lump In Breast? You Might Be Suffering From Fibroadenomas

Are You Experiencing Lump In Breast? You Might Be Suffering From Fibroadenomas

Anything like bulge, lump or swelling in the breast may frighten you a bit. But changes in the breast doesn’t mean that you have something serious going on inside. Fibroadenomas of the breast is one such condition that might upset some women.

Fibroadenomas of the breasts

Think of a lump in the breast and we bet it will be a scary experience. But not all lumps are cancerous in nature. Fibroadenomas are one such benign lump that doesn’t usually cause any serious life-threatening risk, but it does require treatment.

This non-cancerous lump is commonly found in women aged 15-35. The lump can occur alone, in groups or can be a complex one. If fibroadenomas are complex, it might raise the risk of cancer. There are basically three types of fibroadenomas; simple, juvenile and complex.

  • Simple fibroadenomas look same all over if viewed under a microscope. These lumps don’t increase the risk of cancer.
  • Juvenile fibroadenomas are rare and can be found in girls in the age group of 10-18. These types of lumps are difficult to figure out.
  • Complex fibroadenomas contain substances such as macrocysts which are fluid-filled sacs. These macrocysts can be seen under the microscope and also contains calcium deposits. As per American Cancer Society, complex fibroadenomas can pose 1 and half time greater risk of developing breast cancer as compared to women with no breast lumps.

Symptoms - How Fibroadenoma feels?

Certain fibroadenomas are so tiny that they can’t be felt. If a woman is able to feel, it would be distinct from the surrounding tissue. The edges of these lumps are clearly defined with a detectable shape. They are tender in nature and so movable under the skin that some women define them as ‘breast mice’. Fibroadenomas mostly feel like marbles but might have a smooth and rubbery feel.

Size of Fibroadenoma

These lumps can vary in size and may enlarge or shrink on their own. However, they can range in the size of 1-5 cm. Large or say giant fibroadenomas can be as large as 15 cm, the size of the lemon.

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What causes Fibroadenoma?

Till date, the exact reason is unknown. However, there are some possible causes or factors that might play a role in the growth and development of fibroadenomas. These include:

  • Fibroadenomas occur more commonly during the reproductive years.
  • Fibroadenomas can become bigger with the use of hormone therapy or during pregnancy.
  • Intake of oral contraceptives before the age of 20.
  • Some women reported to have shown improvement in the symptoms when they had avoided tea, coffee, soft drinks and chocolates, although this lacks scientific backing but worth a try.

Evaluation of Fibroadenomas

If on self-examination, you feel some lump like substance in the breasts, you must seek an appointment with the doctor. The gynecologist will conduct physical examination followed by mammogram and breast ultrasound tests.

During breast ultrasound, you will lie on a table. The doctor or radiologist will move a device called transducer over the skin. This will create a picture of the affected area on a monitor. In mammogram, an x-ray of the breast will be taken for evaluation.

If both the options are inconclusive, the doctor may perform a fine needle aspiration or biopsy. During this, a sample tissue will be taken by inserting a needle into the breast and remove small portions of the lump. These small pieces of the tumor will be sent to the lab for further examination.

How Fibroadenoma is treated?

Even if the doctor has diagnosed the condition, it isn’t necessary the lump has to be removed. The treatment will depend on your medical and family history and symptoms. Fibroadenomas don’t always grow and such fibroadenomas are certainly not cancerous. However, they can be closely monitored through routine check-ups and imaging tests.

The removal will depend on following things:

  • If it is causing pain
  • If it is affecting the natural shape of your breast
  • If you have family history of cancer
  • If your biopsy findings raise questions
  • If you are worried about developing cancer

Treatment for children can be similar to those of adults, but doctors mostly follow the conservative route. Fibroadenoma does pose a slight risk of cancer. So you should go through regular checkups and if at any point of time, you feel that the lump is causing pain or growing abnormally, you should seek the help of your gynecologist.

 Sources

1. Ng WK, et al. (2011). Juvenile fibroadenoma of the breast: Treatment and literature review read more
2. Fibroadenomas of the breast. (2015) read more
3. Fibrosis and Simple Cysts in the Breast.(2017, September 20) read more
4. Fibroadenomas of the breast. (2017,September 20) read more
5. Fibroadenomas. (n.d.) 
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