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Topic: Fibroadenoma - remove or not

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried —

Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time. PLEASE DO NOT POST PICTURES OF YOUR SYMPTOMS. Comparing notes, symptoms, or characteristics is not helpful here, as only medical professionals can accurately evaluate and assess your individual situation.

Posted on: Sep 11, 2008 08:26AM - edited Sep 11, 2008 12:30PM by msax

msax wrote:

I'm 38 and found a lump in my right breast last Saturday. I had an ultrasound yesterday that revealed what is most likely a fibroadenoma (according to the radiologist). The radiologist said there are 2 options: surgical removal or check it every 6 months via ultrasound for 2 years. (I think they said that, rather than do a biopsy and just remove part of it, it makes sense to just take the whole thing out.) The nurse, radiologist, my parents, and most of my friends say to get it removed, but I'm inclined to wait 6 months to check it again. My reasons are that I don't want someone cutting into me unneccessarily and I just don't want to deal with it emotionally right now. I read that 1 in 1000 are malignant, so odds are pretty good that it is just a benign fibroadenoma. I am an adoptee and I found my birthmother a couple of years ago and apparently I have one aunt who had a mastectomy in her 40s. I do not have any medical information from my paternal relatives. I'm not sure what my question is... I guess I'm just wondering if there's anyone out there who decided not to have surgery and are glad they made that choice.

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Sep 11, 2008 10:16AM Shirlann wrote:

Well, so many of us have had bad experiences with waiting, that we mostly agree that the only good lump is in a jar.  There is no way in this world that anyone knows for certain what is in the lump until that tissue is inder a microscope.

That being said, most breast cancers, certainly not all, have been there for 8 to 12 years, so tiny they could not be found by any means.  So the 6 months is not unreasonable, but they were positive that my lump was nothing because it had "smooth edges".  Well, I had a small sub-type of breast cancer that is characterized by "smooth edges", called Medullary.  I remained undiagnosed for 2 years by the "wait and see approach".  Also, I was a Triple Negative, which made me more at risk than normal breast cancers, this type being more aggressive.

Maybe you could go back in 3 months, split the difference.  

Other women will be along soon, with different ideas and opinions.

Just know you are very welcome here and come anytime and we will help all we can.

Gentle hugs, shirlann

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Sep 11, 2008 12:44PM Beesie wrote:

Fibroadenomas often can be identified quite clearly on an ultrasound so if the radiologist believes that what you have is a fibroadenoma, that's most likely what it is.  What surprises me however is that the radiologist didn't mention a third option - a needle biopsy.  Fibroadenomas are quite common in very young women - I had one at 16 and another at 20.  At that age, because breast cancer is so rare, often a needle biopsy isn't suggested if the fibroadenoma can be clearly identified from the appearance on the ultrasound.  But once you are in your 30s, usually a needle biopsy is suggested to confirm the diagnosis.  If you have a needle biopsy and it confirms that what you have is a fibroadenoma, then you can relax and you don't have to worry about removal, at least for now.

However, even it if's confirmed that it's just a fibroadenoma, in all likelihood at some point you will want to get it removed.  Although fibroadenomas are benign and totally harmless, they do create a problem - because they are solid, they block the view of any of your breast tissue that is behind it. That means it could hide another problem.   In younger women this isn't usually a concern, but once you are in your 40s, it's almost always recommended that fibroadenomas be removed.  So, if you have a needle biopsy now, you can confirm the diagnosis and then, at a later date - whenever you want, even in a few years - you can have the fibroadenoma removed. 

Here are a couple of websites that explain more about fibroadenomas and what's usually recommended:



Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage IA, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke
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Sep 11, 2008 01:51PM - edited Sep 11, 2008 01:54PM by Sherrie1964

I had a fibroadenoma the size of an egg removed when I was 18 - 26 years ago.  At the time, I mainly wanted it out because it hurt, but I'm glad now that I did.  Here I am on this forum 26 years later with a bc diagnosis in the same breast. 

It's a personal decision, but I would just feel more comfortable having it out and knowing for sure what it is, because they told me then what they're telling you now, "we can't say 100% what it is without looking at it under the microscope".  Also, back then and through the years, several doctors told me that this really didn't increase my risk for getting bc.  Today, they are saying that if the cells are atypical, your risk may be slightly higher.  I don't know if that was the case with my lump, but I would put money on the fact that they were atypical.  In my mind, any information you can gain that will arm you for your future health decisions would be extremely valuable.     

I hope this helps and good luck with your decision.


Also - I think Beesie presents a good option with a needle biopsy if you're really against going the more invasive route.   

Dx 5/16/2008, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC)
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Sep 11, 2008 09:14PM msax wrote:

Thanks so much for your quick and thorough responses - you've given me a lot to consider. I'll meet with the surgeon next week and now feel armed with comprehensive information that will allow me to ask the right questions. Ugh. I'm sure you all understand that I feel like this wasn't in the plan!

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Sep 12, 2008 07:24AM - edited Sep 12, 2008 07:45AM by SueMomOf2

I am going through a similar situation right now, so I can understand how you feel.  I found a small lump back in mid-July.  I didn't worry too much at first because I've had 2 surgeries back when I was around 20 years old to remove some fibroadenomas.  I'm 40 now.  I called the doctor and had a mamo and ultrasound right away.  The radiologist said it looked like another fibroadenoma, but just to be safe, I should get it checked with a needle biopsy.  I thought that was a good plan, since the lump wasn't really bothering me, and I didn't want to have surgery if it wasn't necessary.  I got a biopsy scheduled for the end of July and waited until the first week of August for the results.  This is when I found out that I had 'atypical cells' present, so the recommendation was to have a lumpectomy to remove the whole thing for testing just to be sure there is no cancer there.  So next, I scheduled an appointment with a surgeon and then scheduled the surgery for 9/9.  I had that surgery a couple days ago, and now I am waiting again for results, but I certainly feel better knowing the lump is gone.

If I were you, or if I had the whole experience to do over again, I would just get the lump removed and skip the biopsy if possible.  In the long run, you don't want it there anyway.  I feel like I wasted a month setting up appointments and waiting for biopsy results, only to find that the lump had to go.  That's frustrating, and certainly wasn't good for my mental state!  

In my case, the surgery was just about as easy as the biopsy anyway.  I had some light general anesthesia which luckily didn't make me sick.  I got some Motrin before I left the hospital and never needed to take anything after that.  

Good luck with whatever you decide to do! 

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Nov 3, 2008 08:57PM sarah2144kkg wrote:

What a lucky night to find your posts! I am scheduled for surgery to remove what they think is a fibroadenoma on Nov. 12th. It's been on my mind even though I have thought the exact things you have and have heard that same exact things from my doctor including the "smooth edges" and "can't be 100% sure." I'm really glad I'm getting it out now. Thanks for the help!

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Nov 6, 2008 11:16AM CountryMom27 wrote:

I found a lump while breastfeeding my youngest, had a probable diagnosis of a fibroadenoma from the mammo and u/s.  I was 36.  After talking with my aunt and uncle who are doctors, I got a referral to a breast surgeon, who offered two options - needle biopsy or removal.  I chose removal.  To me, I wanted it OUT.  In the ensuing weeks between when I first found it and when I saw the surgeon, it grew bigger, to what felt to be about the size of a plum pit (I later found out it was about the size of a large pea).  

 The surgery and the process were nerve-wracking, because you never really know what it is until it's been tested, and even a core needle biopsy is not 100% certain.  But the surgery was easy.  I had a "cocktail" IV, no general, but I didn't know that the drugs they gave me would make me sleep.  I woke up at the end, was woozy and had some pain but it was relatively minor.

You need to decide for yourself what is best for you.  I'm so glad I had it out, I have no visible scar but I did have complications - I was breastfeeding so operating on a lactating breast is hard.  I developed a fistula (a pocket of milk that was quite painful) and then about 6 mo later started having aches in the breast where the lump was, and some dimpling, but that was found to be just scar tissue.  Just so you know, you might have minor things down the road even if you do have it removed.  And I have to have annual mammograms from here on out, according to my doctor.

Good luck!! 

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Dec 17, 2012 01:49AM Rose22 wrote:

Hi all , I had just turned 21 when I found my fibroadenoma. It was the size of a 20cent coin. I had 2 biopsies done at that time and it was benign, my doctor at the time suggested I could have it removed but being very young I didn't want to have any surgeries done

I'm now 25 and last week had another ultra sound as it's always in been in back of my mind. I went and saw my new doc today .. But found that she wasn't very helpful. Iam wanting to get it removed now but she didn't show to much interest in it . She just looked over ,old reports and said it's around the same size. No new biopsy had been done at all . It worries me and I think I would be more reassured if it was just gone .. I don't know whether I should get another opinion or not ..?

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Dec 17, 2012 03:04PM justamominOH wrote:

I would definitely get a needle biopsy done (for all of you concerned).  I believe they gave me lidocaine & then did a needle biopsy.  I am not going to say it was positively painless because I didn't think it was.  However, everyone now says that it is painless.  Perhaps they are using better numbing stuff before they inject the lidocaine?  It was sore for maybe a few hours.

When I was 15 I had a fibroadenoma removed that was the size of a tangerine.  They were sure it was a cyst but never did a needle aspiration to see if it had fluid.

When I was in my 20's I had another one the size of a marble which I had a needle biopsy on that confirmed it.  However, it continued to get larger so I had it removed.

At 45 I had another huge one that just kept growing & growing so they removed that one as well.

All in all, I really had no pain at all from the surgeries (except the first because I had a drainage tube & a doctor that just didn't know what he was doing.

The two large ones were in my L breast (which I am having problems with now) and the other the R breast.

Good luck!

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Dec 17, 2012 07:08PM Timbuktu wrote:

I have a firbroadenoma in my right breast.  It's been stable for 10 years so the standard of care is to leave it alone.  

Here is the problem.  3 years ago I felt a lump exactly like the fibroadenoma in my left breast.  I've always been bad with rights and lefts so I thought that it was the fibroadenoma.  I mentioned it to the gyne and she said she didn't feel it.  Then she said, i had the wrong breast, it was the right one that had the fibroadenoma!

two years later I go back for my check up (I shouldn't have skipped a year) and i tell the dr that the only thing i feel is that fibroadenoma in the left breast.  She said "the right breast".  I laughed and said, "we had this exact conversation 2 years ago!"  Well, this time she felt it and it was cancer.

They couldn't believe how similar it felt to the fibroadenoma.  It was in the exact same spot, the same size, everything was the same.  Now I'm worried about getting the thing out too.

Who needs a lump to confuse things?

Dx 7/9/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 17, 2012 07:38PM Dawnsigkap wrote:

I was going to post the same question! So glad I saw your question. Mine has not been determined as fibroadema. The mammo and u/s showed nothing!!! But surgeon, primary care, husband, mother, myself can all feel them (I have two different sides on same breast). Surgeon literally left it in my hands. No needle biosy offered. Take it out or watch it. So I'm in same boat!!! Good luck to you! Take care of yourself. My grandmother died at 45 of BC. I'm 41. But he kept saying nothing showed on mammo or u/s so I'm going to wait. I have no reasoning except for money really. And I don't want it to look like Im a hypochondriac (I had gall bladder out this year too, unnecessarily- the radiology report was wrong!!!!). I'm not a doctor, I wish he had just told me what to do!

Take care!

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