Fibroadenoma is the most common “benign” breast mass in women of all ages. It is often found in both breasts and in more than one. Most of the “solid” (cellular-containing) masses in the breast that we consider to be “benign” radiologically are fibroadenomas.
Most fibroadenomas shrink over time (especially after menopause) or even disappear. Most of the ones that don’t shrink remain in sizes similar to when they were first found. Only very few continue to grow. It is okay for fibroadenomas to remain in your breast for life.
The fact that a mass that we think is a fibroadenoma is growing while under radiological follow-up does not require its removal because “growth” is not a cancer-specific feature; Benign masses also enlarge. With other criteria, we decide whether a mass we find in the breast is “suspicious” and therefore whether a biopsy is required.
Fibroadenoma has nothing to do with cancer. Contrary to popular belief, it does not turn into cancer and does not increase your risk of developing cancer. When the fibroadenoma is found, its size, whether it is palpable or not, your age, whether you have breast cancer in yourself or in your family do not make any difference in this respect. If the mass removed from your breast is a “fibroadenoma”, it’s just “you had surgery for nothing”It means!
Do fibroadenomas (and other benign masses) need to be followed up?
“It’s obvious what’s going on, no need to follow up” wrong to say. But it is also true that they are often followed unnecessarily and incorrectly. I have mentioned the reasons for this from time to time in my other articles. Even if the radiologist’s diagnosis is definitive, you should continue to have annual radiological examinations. Our main purpose in these examinations is screening because Having “benign” masses in your breast does not mean you will not get cancer!
Of course, in the meantime, we also examine the situation of previously known masses. Even if we are sure that a mass is “benign”, we have to look for any new “suspicious” findings: Is there a significant difference in the shape of the mass, the arrangement of its edges, its internal structure, veining properties and dimensions compared to the past? You should prefer to take this process with a single radiologist and choose your radiologist carefully. The radiologist’s comments and suggestions affect your destiny! The emergence of new findings in a fibroadenoma is extremely exceptional, but if present, it may be significant and may require biopsy. However, most of these biopsies do not show cancer. Cancer may start in 2 out of 10,000 fibroadenomas, but this is no more likely than cancer starting anywhere in your breast. Moreover, this cancer is no more than a new cancer elsewhere in your breast, usually less. 90% of cancerous changes that begin inside fibroadenomas lobular in situor ductal in situ type and not even truly cancerous; it only means “high risk” for the development of cancer. These changes are “accidental” pathological findings, which are very common in pieces taken from the breast for any reason, but can only be seen with a microscope (not manually or visually). These are very common in the breasts of women who died of non-cancer causes and whose autopsy was performed; In short, it is unimportant! If your breast cancer screenings are regular and of high quality and you are under the follow-up of a certain breast radiologist, it is very easy to catch this cancer at the earliest stage (Stage 0 or 1).Despite the screenings in Turkey, breast cancers are generally not found at such an early stage. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of women are operated unnecessarily every year for unrealistic reasons.
Your health is your own and you can protect it best yourself. Be conscious! It’s up to you to oversee medical decisions and improve medical services!