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Fibroadenomas are benign breast tumors commonly found in young women. Fibroadenoma means "a tumor composed of glandular (related to gland) and fibrous (containing fibers) tissues."


Breast fibroadenomas, abnormal growths of glandular and fibrous tissues, are most common between the ages of 15 and 30, and are found in 10% of all women (20% of African-American women). They are found rarely in postmenopausal women.
Described as feeling like marbles, these firm, round, movable, and "rubbery" lumps range from 1-5 cm in size. Giant fibroadenomas are larger, lemon-sized lumps. Usually single, from 10-15% of women have more than one.
While some types of breast lumps come and go during the menstrual cycle, fibroadenomas typically do not disappear after a woman's period, and should be checked by a doctor.

Causes and symptoms

The cause of breast fibroadenomas is unknown. They may be dependent upon estrogen, because they are common in premenopausal women, can be found in postmenopausal women taking estrogen, and because they grow larger in pregnant women.
Fibroadenomas usually cause no symptoms and may be discovered during breast self-examination, or during a routine check-up.


When the doctor takes a complete medical history, they will ask when the lump was first noticed, if there were any symptoms or changes in lump size, and if there is any personal or family history of breast disease.
The doctor thoroughly feels the breasts (palpates). Tests are done, usually including mammography or ultrasound scans, or surgical removal of cells or tissue for examination under a the microscope (biopsy).
Diagnostic tests include:
  • Mammogram. An x-ray examination of the breast.
  • Ultrasound scan. A technique that uses sound waves to display a two-dimensional image of the breast, showing whether a lump is solid or fluid-filled (cystic).
  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy. A minor procedure wherein fluid or cells are drawn out of the lump through a small needle (aspirated).
  • Core biopsy. A procedure wherein a larger piece of tissue is withdrawn from the lump through a larger needle.
  • Incisional biopsy. A surgical procedure wherein a piece of the lump is removed through an cut (incision).
  • Excisional biopsy. A surgical procedure wherein the entire lump is removed through an cut (incision).
Most insurance plans cover the costs of diagnosing and treating fibroadenomas.


Performed usually in outpatient settings, breast fibroadenomas are removed by lumpectomy, or surgical excision under local or general anesthesia. Sometimes lumps in younger women are not removed but are monitored by self-examination, yearly doctor checkups, and mammograms. Surgery is generally recommended for women over 30, and for lumps that are painful or enlarging.

Alternative treatment

Alternative treatments for breast fibroadenomas include a low-fat, high-fiber, vegetarian-type diet; a reduction in caffeine intake; supplementation with evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis), flax oil, or fish oil and vitamins E and C; and the application of hot compresses to the breast. In addition, a focus on liver cleansing is important to assist the body in conjugation and elimination of excess estrogens. Botanical remedies can be useful in hormone balancing, as can acupuncture and homeopathy. Massaging the breasts with castor oil, straight or infused with herbs or essential oils, can help fibroadenomas reduce and dissipate, as well as keep women in touch with changes in their breast tissue.

Key terms

Aspiration — To withdraw material with a needle and syringe.
Biopsy — To remove cells or tissue for microscopic examination.
Estrogen — Female sex hormone produced by the ovaries.


Breast fibroadenomas are not cancerous. The lumps recur in up to 20% of women. A small number of lumps disappear on their own.


Breast fibroadenomas cannot be prevented. They can be discovered early by regular breast self-examination.



American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 409 12thStreet, S.W., PO Box 96920.


adenoma containing fibrous elements.


A benign neoplasm derived from glandular epithelium, in which there is a conspicuous stroma of proliferating fibroblasts and connective tissue elements; commonly occurs in breast tissue.


/fi·bro·ad·e·no·ma/ (fi″bro-ad″ĕ-no´mah) adenofibroma.
giant fibroadenoma of the breast  phyllodes tumor.


[fī′brō·ad′inō′mə] pl. fibroadenomas, fibroadenomata
Etymology: L, fibra + Gk, aden, gland, oma
a benign tumor composed of dense epithelial and fibroblastic tissue. A fibroadenoma of the breast is nontender, encapsulated, round, movable, and firm. It is usually located in the upper outer quadrant of the breast and occurs most frequently in women younger than 30 years of age. Surgical excision is usually performed to ensure that it is not cancerous.
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Surgery A firm, round, and almost invariably benign tumor that occurs in the breast of younger–age 20-45 ♀, which is composed of a dense stromal tissue, within which are ribbons of compressed glands Vox populi Lump in the breast. Cf Breast CA.


A benign neoplasm derived from glandular epithelium, in which there is a conspicuous stroma of proliferating fibroblasts and connective tissue elements; commonly occurs in breast tissue.
Synonym(s): fibroid adenoma, adenoma fibrosum.


A benign (non-malignant) tumour of glandular and fibrous tissue. Most breast lumps in young women are fibroadenomas and are harmless but, unfortunately, cannot reliably be distinguished from cancers and should always be removed for examination.


adenoma containing fibrous elements. See also feline mammary hypertrophy.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sonographic appearances of juvenile fibroadenoma of the breast.
Carcinoma arising within fibroadenomas of the breast - a clinicopathological study of 105 patients.
In conclusion, VAB is a practical and well-tolerated method in the treatment of benign breast lesions, like fibroadenomas.
The primary outcome was measurement of fibroadenoma volume using ultrasound examinations after 6 months intervention.
The overall profile of benign PT was found more similar to fibroadenomas and the majority of benign and borderline PT was identified as normallike by intrinsic breast cancer subtyping, whereas malignant PT was identified as claudin-low and basal-like.
National Cancer Centre Singapore, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, and Singapore General Hospital, made a seminal breakthrough by using advanced DNA sequencing technologies to identify a critical gene called MED12 that was repeatedly disrupted in nearly 60 percent of fibroadenoma cases.
It's more common for them to be cysts, fibrocystic disease, or fibroadenomas.
Most women who get a fibroadenoma will never get another one, but a few women will have several over a lifetime.
Complex fibroadenoma refers to fibroadenomas with foci of cysts, sclerosing adenosis, epithelial calcifications, and papillary apocrine metaplasia, and has a higher future risk of malignancy.
They detail the evaluation of fine needle aspirates, core biopsies, wire localization biopsies, and resection specimens, and discuss the normal breast, inflammatory conditions, sclerosing and papillary lesions, fibroadenomas and phyllodes tumors, stromal lesions, diseases of the nipple, fibrocystic changes, ductal and lobular proliferations, and familial breast cancer.
According to the doctor, the two common causes of breast lumps are fibroadenomas and cysts.
Fibroadenomas: Fibroadenomas comprise 68% of breast masses in adolescents and are believed to be due to an abnormal response to estrogen.