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What is Fibroadenoma?

Fibroadenoma is a solid, benign tumor of the breast. It occurs during reproductive period of a woman. Fibroadenomas are smooth and either rubbery or hard lumps. They are not attached to the skin and can move when palpated. The size of these tumors ranges from one to several centimeters and they can enlarge during pregnancy and lactation. These tumors never turn into malignant and most commonly are only monitored. In some cases fibroadenomas are surgically removed.

Symptoms of Fibroadenomas

These tumors can be easily palpated and if they are bigger, a woman may feel them just by touching the breast. Some fibroadenomas are placed deep under and are harder to be palpated. Since, nowadays majority of women are aware of the breast cancer and its early detection, they most commonly find the tumor if they perform regular palpatory exams. The lump is in most of the cases round and firm and resembles a marble. It can be easily moved and it is not attached to the skin or the surrounding tissue.

Fibroadenomas are painless lumps. However, in some women, especially during menstruation, fibroadenomas may become more sensitive and cause mild pain in the affected breast.

A woman may have one or more fibroadenomas. The tumor can be rather small and some of them can reach 5 cm of more in length. In this case fibroadenomas are classified as giant fibroadenomas.

Simple fibroadenomas cannot turn into malignant tumors. On the other side complex fibroadenomas apart from fibroglandular tissue contain cysts, enlarged breast lobules and calcifications. These fibroadenomas also cannot convert into malignant but they increase the general risk of later development of breast carcinoma.

Each and every woman who has palpated a lump in her breast needs to see a doctor as soon as possible. Only the doctor can perform certain examinations and confirm or rule out the diagnosis of fibroadenoma. The woman should not hesitate and feel embarrassed to consult a doctor since painful lumps can also be a breast carcinoma. The sooner the correct diagnosis is established, the better is the outcome of the disease.

Diagnosis of Fibroadenomas

The doctor will examine the patient. Namely, clinical breast exam includes the palpation of both breasts. The doctor will also ask a number of questions related to the newly found lump.

Young women, especially those that have not been pregnant and are planning a family will then be examined by ultrasound of the breasts. If the results of the ultrasound are ambiguous the woman will have to be examined by mammography.

The best way to confirm or rule out the diagnosis of fibroadenoma or malignant tumors of the breast is achieved by mammography. This examination is left for women older than 30 and those who are at higher risk of developing breast cancer.

If necessary the doctor will also perform fine-needle aspiration and the obtained fluid and cells will be pathohystologically examined. And finally, a core biopsy is performed in some solid breast tumors to rule out the possibility of a malignant tumor.

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