Fibroadenomas are solid, smooth, firm, benign lumps that are most commonly found in women in their late teens and early 20s. They are the most common benign lumps that occur in women and can occur in women of any age. They are also seen in postmenopausal women who are taking hormone replacement therapy.
Fibroadenomas occur twice as often in African-American women as in other women. The painless lump feels rubbery, moves around freely, and very often is found by the woman herself. They vary in size and can grow anywhere in the breast tissue.
While most physicians can recognize this type of lump simply by feeling it, generally, the diagnosis is confirmed by mammography or ultrasound and fine-needle aspiration. Sometimes, in very young women, the fibroadenoma is not removed. However, since sometimes these fibroadenomas enlarge with pregnancy and breastfeeding, physicians may recommend removal.
While fibroadenomas do not lead to cancer, there is a type that has been associated with an increased risk of cancer, particularly in women with a family history of the disease.