Fibroadenoma or a benign breast lump is the state of occurrence of a tumour or lump in the breast of women. Although, many of its patients suffer from a fear before its diagnosis by assuming it as a symptom of breast cancer. But take a note that it is different from a breast cancer.
In the Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), the breast skin over the lumps turns red and inflamed. But a fibroadenoma usually does not cause any such kind of inflammation over the skin, unless rubbed or pressed hard multiple times while checking it. It is also painless in most of the cases.
In summary, those are harmless to the human body. However, it is recommended to get those diagnosed and treated by the doctor as and when those are observed. It is noted that around four of every five cases of a tumour in the breast is diagnosed as fibroadenoma and are non-cancerous. A fibroadenoma is a soft to hard tissue developed by the fibrocystic or other hormonal changes in the women body.
The normal size of observable lumps caused by fibroadenoma could be of 2 to 5 cm. They are shaped like a marble and are movable within the skin. Note that these tissues tend to shrink or even disappear during the menopause since the hormone levels are lowest in the female body during that phase. When trying to hold it with fingers, you would be able to feel it rubbery.
The lumps developed by fibroadenoma may grow during the days of pregnancy due to many hormonal changes. A fibroadenoma is normally developed in females of age between 15 to 30 years. However, women of any age may observe it developed in their breast.
The occurrence of fibroadenoma is not rare. Fibroadenoma could be of the following types:
- Simple Fibroadenoma: It refers to the development of tissues in the breast that have very slow or at times no growth, once developed. Such kind of fibroadenoma has no risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
- Complex Fibroadenoma: The lumps developed in this type of fibroadenoma are filled with some fluid along with deposition of calcium within its lumps. Once reported, those require monitoring on a regular basis for any behavioural changes. Those may have the risk of developing breast cancer at a later stage. If the growth is rapid, the doctor may recommend getting the biopsy test done with a part extracted from the tissue, for confirmation of cancer.
- Juvenile Fibroadenoma: In this type of fibroadenoma, the lumps are developed in the breast of girls aged between 10 to 18 years of age. The lumps developed by juvenile fibroadenoma may grow large. However, most of those shrink or disappear over the time, as and when the associated hormones are completely developed.
- Giant Fibroadenomas: The normal size of the lumps caused by fibroadenoma is up to 5 cm. Those developed due to giant fibroadenoma may grow even more than 5 cm. Although, they do not cause any harm to the body. But at times, those may suppress the breast tissues. Also, their existence due to a larger size may make the sufferer feel a bit uncomfortable psychologically. In such cases, the patient may get those removed from their breasts.
Symptoms of Fibroadenoma:
Following are the symptoms of fibroadenoma:
- One or more solid lumps in the breast
- The lumps could be of round shape and smooth border
- Those are moved easily when pressing softly with a finger
- These lumps are of rubbery nature
- Those do not cause any pain in the breasts or any other part of the body
- The lumps caused by fibroadenomas may be either in any one or both of the breasts
- There is no irritation or itching on the skin over the lumps unless you rub those
- Unlike IBC, the skin over the fibroadenomas lumps does not get red
Causes of Fibroadenoma:
The actual cause of fibroadenoma is not known yet. However, it is assumed that those can occur due to the development of the reproductive hormones. Fibroadenoma may also be developed due to any changes in such hormones. This is the reason why the lumps caused by this disease grow in size in the pregnancy period or may shrink after menopause in females.
It is assumed that if the diet taken during the development of hormones does not contain essential nutrients, it may cause abnormality in the hormones being developed, which could be a cause of fibroadenoma.
Prevention of Fibroadenoma:
Since fibroadenoma lumps are developed due to the hormonal changes, your body must get sufficient diet during the phases of major hormone development. The various precautionary measures that you may take to avoid fibroadenoma are discussed below:
- Try to reduce or eliminate meat from your diet. It is best to switch to a vegetarian diet. A plant-based diet is considered as best during the period of major hormonal changes in the females. If elimination of meat from the diet is not possible, switch to the organic meat, which is free from chemicals and external hormones.
- Avoid the intake of refined sugars.
- Include lots of vegetables in your diet. Drink juices or smoothies of organic vegetables on a daily basis.
- Include wheatgrass in your diet, as it tends to not only prevent fibroadenomas but also reduces those post their development. Eat the vegetables more, which are significant in the well-functioning of the breast tissues such as spinach, kale, dandelion leaves, parsley, celery, cucumber, and more.
- Try to keep your body alkalized by consuming fresh and organic food items.
- Adopt some detox program on often basis for the elimination of toxins and chemicals from your body.
- Avoid junk or deep-fried foods. Also avoid processed food items, as those may contain tumour-promoting carcinogens.
- Avoid taking birth control pills, as those are highly associated with the risk of developing fibroadenomas.
- Try to reduce caffeine from your daily diet.
How is it diagnosed?
In case you observe one or more lumps in your breasts, you must visit the doctor and explain your medical history and symptoms. The doctor may recommend the mammogram test, in which the impacted breast is placed stationary and an X-ray capturing is done.
The X-ray report of a mammogram would confirm the presence of some lump along with its shape and size. If the age of the patient is below 40 years, the doctor may also recommend an ultrasound test of the breast rather than or along with mammography to know about the lump’s consistency.
Actually, the breast of women with age below 40 years has harder tissues. The X-ray done in mammography may not capture clear pictures of the fibroadenoma lumps because of their interference with harder breast cells in the image.
The doctor may also recommend a cytology test to confirm if the lump is a cyst. In this test, a needle is inserted into the lump and a little part of it is extracted out with the help of vacuum. In case the extracted material is just fluid, it confirms that the lump is a cyst.
In case the physician suspects that the lump is caused by cancer, a core needle biopsy is recommended. In this test, a bit thicker needle is inserted in the lump and some part of the tissue is extracted and sent to the laboratory for biopsy. The report of biopsy confirms if the lump has cancerous cells.
Treatment of Fibroadenoma:
When the doctor confirms by analysing the diagnostic reports that the reported lumps are due to fibroadenoma, the patient is generally not recommended any treatment. In normal cases, it is avoided to extract the lump by surgery, as it may distort the shape of the breast.
Additionally, it may result in the reformation of the lump at a later stage. But, if it is a giant fibroadenoma with multiple lumps, those could be removed from the patient’s breast. There is one more way called as cryo-ablation to destroy the lumps. In this method, a thin tube is inserted into the lump, and some gas is passed from the tube to the tissue.
The gas freezes the tissue and makes it inactive for a long time or even for the lifetime. However, this methodology may be used for treating lumps of smaller size. The best way to minimize the size of the lumps or to make them disappear is to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is also recommended to keep noticing the size of lumps and visit the doctor on a timely basis. The complex fibroadenoma may have the risk of developing breast cancer at a later stage.
Complications of Fibroadenoma:
Usually, fibroadenomas do not cause any problem in the human body. However, their existence may cause psychological stress in the mind of its patient. In any case, it is must for you to visit a doctor and get all the medical investigations done to know about the nature of fibroadenoma. You must be very cautious in case the lumps are because of complex fibroadenoma, as those may cause cancer, if not taken care on time.
Myths of Fibroadenoma:
Myth #1: Fibroadenoma may only occur in the breast of females
Fibroadenoma is mainly associated with the fibro-glandular tissue, which is found in the breasts of females and is not available in the normal male individuals. In some extremely rare cases, fibroadenoma is also reported in males. Those cases involve male-to-female transsexuals and the cases where estrogen therapy is provided in aged individuals suffering from prostate carcinoma.
Myth #2: A lump in the breast is always the breast cancer
Fibroadenoma causes the development of lumps in the breast that are harmless. The lumps related to cancer may be painful and may show the signs of rashes or bruises on the skin surface of the lump.
Myth #3: When the result of the mammography test is clear, when you have a breast lump, you need not even visit the doctor again.
At times it happens then the mammography test does not confirm the occurrence of fibroadenoma. This is because the X-ray performed in mammography, at times in case of some young women, may not detect the existence of the fibroadenoma lumps. In that case, you will need to revisit your doctor, who may further recommend you several tests in order to understand the exact nature of the lumps and avoid any probable complications in future.
Myth #4: The lumps caused by the breast cancer are always painful and any painless lump would be a harmless fibroadenoma.
This is not necessary. The lumps developed by breast cancer are not always painful. At times, the patient could not distinguish between fibroadenoma and breast cancer just by visibly observing the symptoms.
Myth #5: Fibroadenoma may only be developed in the females of younger age.
Fibroadenoma may cause lumps in the breasts of the females of any age group.
Myth #6: Smaller lumps in the breast are caused by breast cancer, whereas bigger lumps are developed because of fibroadenoma.
A lump caused by fibroadenoma will also be developed initially with a smaller size and may grow up to a larger size.
Myth #7: A painless lump in your breast could only be because of fibroadenoma if you have no history of breast cancer in your family.
Note that a breast cancer is not a hereditary problem and could occur to any female. You must be very cautious with the sign of any lump in your breast.
Fibroadenoma is a mild condition in which you may observe single to multiple lumps in one or both of your breasts. It may be primarily caused by hormonal changes in the female. In any of its symptoms, you must visit a physician and get all the prescribed investigations done. If confirmed, you may not be prescribed any medication course to get it treated. In some extreme cases, you may consult with your doctor and get it extracted from your breasts.