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Breast Lumps


​​What is a fibroadenoma?

A fibroadenoma is a non-cancerous (benign) breast lump made up of fibrous and glandular tissue. The cause of fibroadenomas is unknown but they may be related to hormone changes in your reproductive years. Fibroadenomas are the most common solid breast lumps in younger women. They can develop any time after puberty but usually don’t develop after menopause. Some fibroadenomas get bigger, while others stay the same or get even smaller.

Most women with fibroadenomas have only one fibroadenoma. But some women have more than one, and they can develop in both breasts. Most fibroadenomas are not associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. They may vary in size and get bigger at some times of your life such as during a pregnancy. Since fibroadenomas and lumps from breast cancer may look and feel the same, your doctor may recommend that you have imaging tests or a biopsy to help diagnose the breast condition.

How is a fibroadenoma diagnosed?

Your doctor or surgeon will ask you about your breast health and family history and then examine your breasts. Fibroadenomas are usually painless, feel smooth and round and move freely. They are firm and rubbery, much like a pea or a grape.

If your doctor thinks you have a fibroadenoma, you may be sent for an ultrasound, mammogram or both tests. A fibroadenoma looks like a solid, smooth lump with edges that can be easily seen on a mammogram or ultrasound.

What happens if I have a fibroadenoma?

Your doctor will look at the following factors to help plan your follow-up:

  • your age
  • health history
  • how long you've had the lump
  • how the fibroadenoma looks on the mammogram or ultrasound
  • your family history
  • how worried you are
  • any recent change in the size or shape of the lump

Most women have observation only. This means a return visit to your surgeon for a breast exam and repeat mammogram, ultrasound or both tests every 6 months for 1-2 years’ time to make sure it is not changing. Other women may need a breast biopsy to remove a piece of breast tissue that can be looked at under a microscope to confirm a diagnosis of a fibroadenoma.

Current as of: June 26, 2020

Author: Women’s Health, Alberta Health Services