Diagnosis, causes and treatments

Up to 10% women develop a fibroadenoma in life. Up to now there were only 2 options for fibroadenomas treatment: watchful waiting over time to avoid any complications or accept a surgical excision to remove the mass.

Most of them are looking for a valid alternative to surgical excision, to avoid pain and complaint, to reduce stress and lesion growth and preserve cosmetical look. Today this third option is available: Cryoablation. Minimally invasive, safe and effective.


Breast fibroadenomas are the most common, diffused breast lesion in young women (< age 30). Breast fibroadenomas doesn’t increase the risk of a breast tumor.

Fibroadenomas are the most common type of breast tumor (lump). They are solid (not fluid-filled) masses, have clearly defined edges and are typically round or oval in shape. Fibroadenomas are benign, which means they are not cancerous, and do not turn into cancer. They may increase in size with time, particularly with hormonal changes.

Breast fibroadenomas are the most common breast tumor (lump) diagnosed. It is estimated that more than 750,000 cases/year are treated in the US.

Within 5 years of initial diagnoses, about 60-70% of women seek treatment for their fibroadenoma.

Fibroadenomas are sometimes palpable (able to be felt). While some remain unchanged for many years, they may grow to a size larger than a golf ball.

Some women find these lumps or masses uncomfortable and bothersome, and may have associated pain or tenderness. In some cases, fibroadenomas can physically deform the breast. The level of anxiety caused by (or associated with) these breast masses is different for every woman.

Fibroadenomas are usually found during a breast self-examination, or a clinical examination (breast exam performed by a physician). Further studies may be done: ultrasound, mammography, or other imaging such as MRI.

While fibroadenomas tend to have a typical appearance on physical exam and imaging, the diagnosis must be confirmed by some type of biopsy procedure – no imaging or x-ray study can fully ensure that the lump is indeed benign.

A definitive diagnosis of a potential fibroadenoma is made by taking a tissue sample or biopsy. Most often, a minimally-invasive, image-guided biopsy is performed. This procedure is performed by your physician in the office, under local anesthesia. Usually, ultrasound is used to guide a needle biopsy device into the breast and capture a small tissue sample. The sample is sent to a pathologist, who will then examine the tissue sample microscopically and will determine if it is indeed a fibroadenoma or some other type of lesion. Most women can return to work or other normal activities following the procedure or after a short recovery period. Pathology results are typically available within few days.

Traditionally, women diagnosed with a fibroadenoma had two options: watchful waiting or surgical excision.

Today, a less invasive third option, Cryoablation, may be an appropriate treatment option for some women.