Non-cancerous tissue growth

This harmless lump in the breast is common among younger women – our experts explain how it is diagnosed and treated.

About fibroadenoma

A fibroadenoma is a harmless lump in the breast. The causes of fibroadenoma are unknown, but they develop when non-cancerous tissue and ducts grow over a lobule (milk-producing gland) and form a solid lump. Fibroadenomas can develop at any age, but they are most common in younger women, often developing during puberty.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of fibroadenoma icon plus

    The lumps are usually painless (although some people experience tenderness), feel smooth under the skin and move around easily.

    The different types of fibroadenoma are:
    • Simple fibroadenoma – the most common form, measuring 1-3cm in size. These do not increase your chances of developing breast cancer.
    • Complex fibroadenoma – a less common form that tends to occur in older women and may grow over time. These may slightly increase your chances of developing breast cancer.
    • Giant/juvenile fibroadenoma – larger lumps that grow larger than 5cm in size.
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    While a fibroadenoma is harmless, it is always important to get any lump in the breasts checked out by a specialist.

    In order to diagnose fibroadenoma, your consultant may carry out one or more of the following tests:
    • A breast examination.
    • Breast X-ray (mammogram) – using a mammogram machine, your breast is gently pressed flat under a plastic plate to ensure a clear image is taken.
    • Ultrasound – a scan that uses sound waves to build up a picture of the inside of the breast with a small hand-held sensor which is pressed against the skin.
    • Biopsy or fine needle aspiration – inserting a needle into the breast to remove tissue for testing.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Many fibroadenomas do not require surgery, but sometimes an excision biopsy is needed. This procedure removes large, complex or juvenile fibroadenomas.

    The surgery can involve:
    • Local or general anaesthetic – your consultant will discuss the options so you are fully prepared.
    • Dissolvable stitches may be used under the skin - these won’t need to be removed afterwards. If non-dissolvable stitches are used, they will be taken out a few days after surgery.
    • Another type of treatment available to remove the lump is vacuum-assisted excision biopsy. With this option, the lump will be removed without surgery under local anaesthetic.

Our breast care consultants

We're proud to work with leading breast care experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our breast care locations

From complex breast and reconstructive surgery to screening and minor breast procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Book an appointment

Our team can help with any enquiries or you can make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

Call us today

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
back to top