Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

During the physical exam, your doctor will check both breasts for lumps and other problems. Depending on your age and the characteristics of the lump, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following tests:

  • Mammography. Mammography uses X-rays to produce an image (mammogram) of suspicious areas in your breast tissue. A fibroadenoma usually appears on a mammogram as a breast mass with smooth, round edges, distinct from surrounding breast tissue. To evaluate a suspected fibroadenoma, mammograms are routinely performed for women age 30 and older.
  • Breast ultrasound. If you're younger than age 30, your doctor may opt for a breast ultrasound instead of a mammogram to evaluate a breast lump. Dense breast tissue in younger women makes mammograms difficult to interpret. Breast ultrasound can help your doctor determine whether a breast lump is solid or filled with fluid. A solid mass is more likely a fibroadenoma, and a fluid-filled mass is more likely a cyst.
  • Fine-needle aspiration. Through a thin needle inserted into the breast lump, your doctor attempts to withdraw the contents of the breast lump. If fluid comes out, the lump is most likely a cyst.
  • Core needle biopsy. To be certain that a solid breast lump is a fibroadenoma and not breast cancer, your doctor may recommend a core needle biopsy — which uses a larger needle to obtain tissue samples from the lump to send for analysis.
May. 27, 2011