We do mammograms to help us find breast cancer, but we may find a lot of other, unexpected things. As promised, we are expounding upon some of the benign noncancerous findings on mammograms. Today we're going to talk about fibroadenoma of the breast, one of the more common causes of breast lumps in young, reproductive age women.
In short, fibroadenoma is a lump in the breast that is a benign tumor or growth which may show up either as something the patient or her doctor feels or as a spot on a mammogram. These are pretty common - seen in about 10% of women - and are more frequent in African-American women. There may even be multiple fibroadenomas. The benign growths may increase in size, especially in younger women (teens and 20s). Having a fibroadenoma will not make you more likely to have breast cancer.
In terms of breast imaging, a fibroadenoma may show up as a discrete spot or mass on a mammogram. Breast ultrasound may be done and will show a solid non-cystic mass. Many times there are features on the ultrasound that suggest the diagnosis of fibroadenoma. if the lump does not have all of those features, has increased in size, or is new in a woman close to or after reaching menopause a biopsy may be recommended to make the diagnosis. Many times this can be done with a needle biopsy. If this is a new finding in a younger patient, we may recommend that the lump be followed, most often by ultrasound with images every 6 months for a total of 2 years a typical followup strategy.
If your doctor diagnoses you with a fibroadenoma, you can relax. It's a common benign finding. As with any breast lump or change, get it checked promptly - benign findings are common. So save yourself some undo stress and schedule a visit with your doctor if you find a change or lump in your breast.
Image credit: Cellular fibroadenoma; Owner/creator: Difu Wu on Wikimedia Commons; License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Originally posted 6/10/13 on mammographykc.com.