When we speak of benign breast conditions, we often speak of rare conditions - things which only affect a small portion of the population. One such example is the complex-sounding fibroadenolipoma, otherwise known as a breast hamartoma. Far more simple than its name, a hamartoma is a harmless lesion within the breast.
Most hamartomas are found on mammography and are not clinically apparent to a woman or her doctor. Occasionally a hamartoma is felt as a soft lump or a woman might experience fullness or swelling. Size of a hamartoma can vary but may be fairly large. The special feature of a hamartoma is that it is not made up of unusual cells but rather the components of normal breast tissue - including supporting tissues, glandular tissue and fat (hence the name: fibro- supporting tissues, adeno- glandular tissue and lipo- fat). These lesions are typically round or oval as seen on a mammogram or ultrasound.
Once found and confirmed as a hamartoma based on typical findings on mammography and/or ultrasound, the finding does not usually require follow-up imaging or surgery. It will remain a unique feature of a person’s breast.
So if your radiologist says hamartoma, take a relaxing breath - it’s just a benign growth of normal breast tissue.
Originally published 2/11/14 on mammographykc.com.