Fibroadenomas (Benign Breast Tumors)
Fibroadenomas are solid, smooth, firm, benign lumps that are most commonly found in women in their late teens and early 20s. They are the most common benign tumor that occurs in women and can occur at any age. Increasingly, they are being seen in postmenopausal women who are taking hormone replacement therapy. The painless lump usually feels rubbery and moves freely often found by the woman herself. They vary in size from millimeters to several centimeters and can grow anywhere in the breast tissue.
While most physicians may suspect this type of tumor simply by feeling the lump, generally, the diagnosis is confirmed by ultrasound and needle biopsy. A fibroadenoma is not cancer and does not lead to cancer.
On mammography, fibroadenomas are well circumscribed, oval or lobulated tumors with well-defined borders. Calcifications are common, especially in postmenopausal women. Most calcifications are coarse and the so-called popcorn calcifications are pathognomonic for fibroadenoma. In younger women, fibroadenomas are usually diagnosed by ultrasound.
Fibroadenomas (and all solid breast masses) need a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. This usually entails a needle biopsy in the office under local anesthesia with ultrasound guidance. The procedure takes less than 10 minutes and is essentially painless.
There are many ways to deal with a fibroadenoma including leaving it alone, surgically removing it, or removing it with a special needle which takes multiple pieces of the fibroadenoma until it is all gone. A surgical excision is a minor day surgery procedure to remove the lump. The latest in oncoplastic techniques are utilized to ensure the best cosmetic outcome. The procedure is done in a hospital or surgery center under a light general anesthesia.