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Fibroadenoma

Fibroadenomas (fy-broe-ad-uh-NO-muhz) are solid, noncancerous breast tumors that occur most often in adolescent girls and women under the age of 30.

You might describe a fibroadenoma as firm, smooth, rubbery or hard with a well-defined shape. Usually painless, a fibroadenoma might feel like a marble in your breast, moving easily under your skin when touched. Fibroadenomas vary in size, and they can get bigger or even shrink on their own.

Fibroadenomas are among the most common breast lumps in young women. Treatment may include monitoring to detect changes in the size or feel of the fibroadenoma, a biopsy to evaluate the lump, or surgery to remove it.

Symptoms Causes Complications

Fibroadenomas are solid breast lumps or masses that usually are:

  • Round with distinct borders
  • Easily moved
  • Firm or rubbery
  • Painless

A fibroadenoma may feel like a marble within your breast when you press on it. You can have one or many fibroadenomas. Fibroadenomas range in size from being too small to be felt — detected only by mammogram or ultrasound — to 3 inches (8 centimeters) or more in diameter.

When to see a doctor

In healthy women, normal breast tissue often feels lumpy. If you detect a new breast lump or a change in your breasts — or if a breast lump you've had checked before seems to have grown or otherwise changed — make an appointment with your doctor.

Doctors don't know what causes fibroadenomas, but development of fibroadenomas may be related to reproductive hormones. Fibroadenomas occur more often during your reproductive years, can become bigger during pregnancy or use of hormone therapy, and may even shrink after menopause, when hormone levels decrease.

Most fibroadenomas don't affect your risk of breast cancer. However, your breast cancer risk might increase slightly if you have a complex fibroadenoma — which may contain abnormal cysts or dense, opaque tissue called calcifications. A pathologist makes the diagnosis of a complex fibroadenoma after reviewing the tissue from a biopsy of the lump.

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