A common breast condition in women under age 30 is fibroadenoma. A fibroadenoma is a benign tumor made up of glandular breast tissue that presents as a lump directly underneath the skin. The growths do not cause pain and typically occur more often in African American women. While they tend to grow during pregnancy, fibroadenomas typically get smaller during and following menopause. Currently, there is no clear cause for fibroadenoma.
Once a lump is discovered by the woman or a doctor performing an exam, further diagnostic tests will be ordered in order to determine if the lump is benign or malignant. Testing may include a mammogram and an ultrasound if cancer is suspected. The doctor may also choose to do a needle biopsy to determine if the growth is solid or filled with fluid. Breast biopsies are generally not necessary for women under the age of 25.
While a doctor may choose to leave the fibroadenoma alone, the most common treatment option is surgical removal. Other reasons that would point to removal are changes in breast shape, biopsy results that are abnormal, as well as a family history of cancer. An alternative to surgery is cryoablation, which uses a freezing technique to destroy the lump.
Women who are diagnosed with fibroadenoma are more at risk of breast cancer as they grow older. If a lump is not removed, it must be watched carefully by a doctor. Any change in size could indicate the need for surgery.
Fibroadenomas are almost always benign but there is a slight possibility of cancer, which is why a doctor must always perform a thorough examination. Sometimes the growths are misdiagnosed as an abscess or a fibrocystic condition, which calls for a different treatment process. If a lump is mistaken for cancer and drastic treatment measures are taken, there could be harm done to the patient as they are likely to undergo unnecessary treatments or medications. If the growth is actually cancerous and is diagnosed as benign, the patient’s life may threatened by lack of action. This is why a proper diagnosis is critical.
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