Fibroadenoma (fibroma) of the breast is a benign tumor that forms from connective tissue. The neoplasm with a diameter of 15-40 millimeters has a spherical shape and high density. In the early stages, the disease can be asymptomatic - in rare cases, girls experience moderate pain before the onset of menstruation. In the process of diagnosis, the gynecologist can refer the patient to an ultrasound examination of the breast and mammography. A biopsy of the neoplasm is performed to exclude malignant pathologies of the mammary glands from the number of possible diagnoses. The treatment of fibroids is carried out mainly by surgery.
Fibroids of the mammary glands remain the most common benign pathology detected by gynecologists and oncologists when examining patients of various age groups. Up to 70% of cases of fibroadenomatosis are detected in girls under 30 years old. When pregnancy occurs, breast fibroadenoma can increase significantly in size. For this reason, doctors recommend that patients of reproductive age undergo treatment before conceiving a child.
Doctors identify two types of tumors - mature and immature. Mature neoplasms are characterized by slow growth, high density and moderate elasticity. Fibroids of this type are found in women 20-40 years old. Immature tumors tend to grow rapidly. The focus of the pathological process has significant elasticity, with palpation of the neoplasm, the patient does not experience painful sensations. Immature fibroids are detected in girls who are at puberty. Often, tumors of this type disappear after the patient has a regular menstrual cycle.
In 65% of cases, fibroadenomas form in the breast tissue as a single neoplasm ranging in size from 25 to 40 millimeters. Multiple fibroids can affect both breasts of a patient.
The reasons for the development of pathology
The reasons for the formation of fibroadenomas in the tissues of the mammary gland are not fully understood. Gynecologists and oncologists believe that the pathological process develops against the background of hormonal changes in a woman's body during puberty and menopause. In postmenopausal women, the likelihood of benign neoplasms of the mammary glands increases when patients are prescribed hormone replacement therapy to compensate for ovarian dysfunction.
In the process of diagnosing breast fibroadenoma, employees of clinical laboratories examine the histological structure of tumor tissues. Doctors distinguish several types of neoplasms based on the structural features of the proliferation of connective tissues:
- pericanalicular fibroids (formed around the ducts of the mammary glands);
- intracanalicular fibroids (develop inside the ducts);
- mixed fibroids (have signs of peri- and intracanalicular tumors);
- leafy fibromas (prone to malignant degeneration, consist of cells with a normal, borderline and atypical structure);
- juvenile fibroids (formed during puberty, disappear after the establishment of a regular menstrual cycle).
Gynecologists consider leaf-shaped (phylloid) neoplasms as the most dangerous form of pathology. Tumors of this type develop from intraductal fibroids in women of the older age group (40-60 years). The mammary glands of the patients are deformed, the skin becomes thinner, systematic acute pains appear. The advanced course of the disease can lead to breast cancer.
Things to know (Q&A)
Can fibroadenomas turn into cancer?
The large majority of fibroadenomas will not turn into breast cancer. However, it is possible for complex fibroadeomas to become cancerous . This type of lump is less common and faster growing than simple fibroadenomas and contains changes such as cell overgrowth (hyperplasia) and calcium deposits.
What happens if fibroadenoma is left untreated?
Fibroadenomas do not usually cause any complications . It is possible that a person may develop breast cancer out of a fibroadenoma, but this is highly unlikely. According to research, only around 0.002 to 0.125 percent of fibroadenomas become cancerous.
What is the main cause of fibroadenoma?
The cause of fibroadenomas is unknown , but they might be related to reproductive hormones. Fibroadenomas occur more often during your reproductive years, can become bigger during pregnancy or with use of hormone therapy, and might shrink after menopause, when hormone levels decrease.
Do fibroadenomas need to be removed?
While most fibroadenomas don't require removal , surgery may be recommended if your breast lump is large or painful. A personal or family history of breast cancer may also be a consideration in some cases. A fibroadenoma may be removed via two different methods, depending on the size.