Fibroadenomas are benign masses that develop in the breast tissue. Fibroadenomas are particularly common in women. Fibroadenomas do not turn into cancer.
What is Fibroadenoma?
Fibroadenomas are benign breast tumors that are frequently seen in women aged 15-35 years. The structure of these tumors is hard, smooth, rubbery and well-defined. Fibroadenomas can feel like a ball in the breast tissue. It can move easily under the skin when examined. Fibroadenomas can be of different sizes. These tumors can grow and shrink on their own.
Fibroadenomas are the most common non-cancerous (benign, benign) tumors seen in young women. A woman may have a single fibroadenoma mass or more than one mass.
What are the signs and symptoms of fibroadenoma?
The basic mechanism of fibroadenoma formation has not been elucidated yet. However, female reproductive hormones are thought to be effective in the development of fibroadenoma. Fibroadenomas are usually seen in childbearing age. Fibroadenoma masses can grow during pregnancy or while taking hormone therapy. Fibroadenoma masses may shrink in the menopausal period when reproductive hormones levels decrease.
There are different types of fibroadenoma. These types are:
When examined under the microscope, the tumors appear identical to each other. Simple fibroadenomas do not increase the risk of breast cancer.
The cells that make up these fibroadenomas can divide very quickly and the tumor tissue can grow rapidly. Complex fibroadenomas usually occur in older women.
It is the most common breast tumor in adolescents and young adults aged 10-18 years. Most juvenile fibroadenomas shrink over time and disappear. In some, growth can be observed.
These fibroadenoma tumors can reach sizes larger than 5 cm. Giant fibroadenomas may need to be surgically removed as they can press on the surrounding breast tissue.
Phyllodes tumors are not fibroadenoma tumors. Although these tumors are usually benign, some phyllodes tumors can be malignant, that is, precancerous. Regarding phyllodes tumors, which are often confused with fibroadenomas, doctors usually recommend removing these tumors.
What Are the Symptoms of Fibroadenoma?
Fibroadenomas are solid breast tumors. These tumors;
- round, well-defined
- easily movable
- It has a hard or rubbery consistency.
- Fibroadenomas can be in one breast or in both breasts.
In healthy women, sometimes lumpy, lumpy structures can be felt in the breast tissue. If a new mass is palpable and other changes are observed in the breast, a doctor should be consulted. If the size of the previously checked breast tumor is increasing and the tumor is separating from the surrounding breast tissue, it is useful to go to the doctor’s control again.
How Is Fibroadenoma Diagnosed?
In the diagnosis of fibroadenoma, breast examination is performed first. The doctor examines the masses and other changes in both breasts. Some fibroadenoma tumors are too small to be palpable on examination. Various imaging methods can be used to detect these tumors.
If a palpable mass is detected during the examination, further investigations are planned by considering parameters such as the patient’s age and the characteristics of the mass.
Diagnostic mammography method can be used to evaluate breast tumor. Mammography is used to obtain an image (mammogram) of suspicious tissues in the breast using X-rays. Fibroadenomas on mammogram; It appears as a smooth-edged, rounded mass separate from the surrounding breast tissue.
Ultrasound creates an image of the inside of the breast using sound waves. Doctors may order ultrasound in addition to mammography to evaluate a breast tumor. Especially in women with dense breast tissue, both mammogram and ultrasound may be needed to make a healthier evaluation.
In women younger than 35 years of age who apply with the complaint of a palpable mass in the breast, breast ultrasound is requested as the first examination to prevent radiation exposure. If a suspicious result is obtained on ultrasound, other imaging methods can be used as a further examination.
If a tumor or other abnormality is detected in the breast on mammography, ultrasound is preferred for further evaluation. A breast ultrasound helps the doctor distinguish whether a lump in the breast is solid or filled with fluid. If the mass appears solid on ultrasound, it may be considered a fibroadenoma, and if it appears as fluid-filled, it may be considered a cyst.
Another method used to examine breast tumors is fine needle aspiration. In this procedure, the doctor takes a sample from the mass in the breast with the help of a thin needle. If the sample taken from the mass comes in the form of liquid, it can be understood that the tumor has a cystic feature.
In core needle biopsy, the doctor takes a piece of the tumor tissue under ultrasound guidance. These pieces are sent to the laboratory for analysis.
What are Fibroadenoma Treatment Methods?
Fibroadenomas usually do not require treatment. However, some women prefer to have their fibroadenoma tumors removed because they do not want to have a question mark in their minds.
If it is confirmed by examination, imaging methods and biopsy that the tumor in the patient is a fibroadenoma, the patient may not need to choose surgical methods. Considering the possibility of surgery to disrupt the shape and structure of the breast, fibroadenomas shrink and disappear spontaneously over time, patients may not prefer surgery. In addition, it is observed that the tumor remains stable over time in breasts with more than one fibroadenoma. Therefore, patients may not choose surgical treatment methods.
Patients who do not want a surgical procedure should go to a doctor’s control regularly. In these controls, changes in tumor size or appearance are evaluated with ultrasound. If the patient begins to worry about fibroadenomas in the breast tissue, he has the opportunity to reconsider the option of surgery.
If the patient’s examination, imaging, or biopsy results have an abnormality with fibroadenomas, the doctor may offer the option of surgery. Abnormalities seen in fibroadenomas are usually excessively large size, rapid growth, or cause undesirable symptoms in the patient.
Different surgical procedures can be used to remove fibroadenomas. The first of these is a method called lumpectomy or excisional biopsy. In the lumpectomy operation, the surgeon removes the mass in the breast along with some of the surrounding breast tissue. This removed tissue is examined in the laboratory and it is evaluated whether there is a cancer risk.
Another method used to remove the tumor is cryoablation. In this procedure, a rod-like instrument (cryoprobe) is advanced through the skin to the fibroadenoma tumor in the breast. When the tumor is reached, the gas released from the cryoprobe freezes and destroys the relevant tissue.
Laser ablation can also be used to treat fibroadenoma. In this procedure, the doctor removes the fibroadenoma tissue with a laser device under ultrasound guidance. Laser ablation usually does not require anesthesia and the patient can be discharged the same day after the procedure. Another advantage of laser ablation is that the procedure does not cause any change in the breast other than a small scar.
Another procedure that can be applied in the treatment of fibroadenoma is radiofrequency ablation. For this procedure, the patient receives local anesthesia and the procedure is performed under ultrasound guidance. A 6-8 mm incision is made on the fibroadenoma tumor. A thin rod-shaped device is advanced through this incision into the breast. When the tumor tissue is reached, a small blade heated by radiofrequency inside the device cuts the tumor tissue and separates it from the surrounding breast tissue. The advantage of this procedure is that there is not much bleeding when removing the tumor tissue by cutting.
After fibroadenoma tumors are removed, new fibroadenomas may form in the breast tissue. Methods such as mammography, ultrasound and biopsy are used to determine whether the newly formed tumors are fibroadenomas or cancerous tissue.
Herbal alternative medicine methods are also considered to be effective in the resolution of fibroadenomas. It should be noted that there is no definitive scientific evidence that these applications are effective in the resolution and destruction of fibroadenoma. However, some women use herbal products such as ginger tea and castor oil with the thought that they are good for fibroadenoma.
Fibroadenomas are mostly benign tumors and do not increase the risk of cancer. Women who notice a mass in their breast tissue should apply to the nearest health center without wasting time. This mass can be a benign fibroadenoma or a precancerous tumor. It is recommended that women have regular check-ups in the fight against breast cancer.
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