In many cases, fibroadenomas require no treatment. However, some women choose to have their fibroadenomas surgically removed for their peace of mind.
If your doctor is reasonably certain that your breast lump is a fibroadenoma — based on the results of the clinical breast exam, imaging test and biopsy — you may not need surgery.
You might decide to avoid surgery because:
- Surgery can distort the shape and texture of the breast
- Fibroadenomas sometimes shrink or disappear on their own
- The breast has multiple fibroadenomas that appear to be stable — no changes in size on an ultrasound compared to an earlier ultrasound
If you choose not to have surgery, it's important to monitor the fibroadenoma with follow-up visits to your doctor for breast ultrasounds to detect any changes in the appearance or size of the lump. If you later become worried about the fibroadenoma, you can reconsider surgery to remove it.
Your doctor might recommend surgery to remove the fibroadenoma if one of your tests — the clinical breast exam, an imaging test or a biopsy — is abnormal.
Procedures to remove a fibroadenoma include:
- Lumpectomy or excisional biopsy. In this procedure, a surgeon removes breast tissue and sends it to a lab to check for cancer.
- Cryoablation. In this alternative to excisional biopsy, your doctor inserts a thin, wand-like device (cryoprobe) through your skin to the fibroadenoma. A gas is used to freeze the tissue. Some fibroadenomas are too large to freeze, and cryoablation is only used if the diagnosis is certain.
After a fibroadenoma is removed, it's possible that one or more new fibroadenomas may develop. New breast lumps need to be assessed with mammograms, ultrasound and possibly biopsy — to determine if the lump is a fibroadenoma or cancer.
May. 02, 2014
- Non-cancerous breast conditions: Fibroadenomas. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/womenshealth/non-cancerousbreastconditions/non-cancerous-breast-conditions-fibroadenomas. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Sabel MS. Overview of benign breast disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Understanding breast changes: A health guide for women. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/screening/understanding-breast-changes/AllPages. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Harvey JA, et al. ACR appropriateness criteria palpable breast masses. Journal of the American College of Radiology. 2013;10:742.
- Lehman CD, et al. Accuracy and value of breast ultrasound for primary imaging evaluation of symptomatic women 30-39 years of age. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2012;199:1169.
- Papadakis MA, ed., et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2014. 53rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Jan. 24, 2014.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 5, 2014.
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