What is fibroadenoma?

A fibroadenoma is a type of benign breast lump. It’s most common in people younger than 30. While some fibroadenomas might need treatment, they are usually harmless and aren’t caused by cancer.

If you find a lump in your breast, our team is here for you. Whether it’s a fibroadenoma or another breast condition, we’ll be by your side through diagnosis and treatment to ensure you get the answers you need.

Types of fibroadenoma

When you have a breast lump caused by a fibroadenoma, the type of fibroadenoma you have will guide your care and treatment options. Most of the time, fibroadenoma breast lumps fall into two main groups—simple fibroadenomas and complex fibroadenomas. Simple fibroadenomas are the most common overall, especially in younger people, while complex fibroadenomas tend to be found more often in those over 35.

Along with the simple and complex categories, there are two other types of fibroadenomas—juvenile and giant. Neither of these types are common. A fibroadenoma can also be classified as juvenile and giant at the same time.

  • Simple fibroadenomas

    These common fibroadenomas are usually small and don’t increase your risk of developing other breast conditions like breast cancer. If a tissue sample is taken, the entire sample looks uniform under a microscope.

  • Complex fibroadenomas

    Complex fibroadenomas are less common and tend to be larger than simple fibroadenomas. A sample of this type of fibroadenoma doesn’t look uniform under a microscope. Complex fibroadenomas may appear on a mammogram image, along with breast cysts or breast calcifications. They also may slightly increase your risk for breast cancer.

  • Juvenile fibroadenomas

    When a pre-teen or teenager develops a fibroadenoma, it’s called a juvenile fibroadenoma. This type of fibroadenoma is rare, but it’s the most common type of benign breast lump found in those ages 10-18.

  • Giant fibroadenomas

    Your fibroadenoma may be classified as a giant fibroadenoma based on its size. This uncommon fibroadenoma grows over 5 centimeters—or about 2 inches—across.

Fibroadenoma symptoms

The main symptom of a fibroadenoma is a solid breast lump you can feel. However, some fibroadenomas aren’t felt and are instead found on a mammogram. Usually, these benign lumps don’t cause other symptoms or pain, but some people may have tenderness around the lump, especially right before the start of their menstrual cycle.

Fibroadenomas can be a range of sizes and may feel round or flat. Most of the time, if you press on a lump caused by a fibroadenoma, it easily moves around in the breast tissue.

Some common signs of fibroadenoma breast lumps include:

  • Feels round like a marble or flat like a coin
  • Moves when pressed
  • Has smooth, round edges
  • Feels firm or rubbery
  • Grows slowly or not at all
  • May shrink during the teen years or menopause
  • Grows more during pregnancy

When to see a doctor for a breast lump:

Anytime you notice a new lump in your breast, you should let your doctor know, even if you think it’s a harmless fibroadenoma. Your care provider can help decide if you need additional testing to check on the cause of the lump.

Along with a breast lump, some additional signs that you should see a doctor include:

  • Sudden changes in the shape, size or look of your breast
  • Skin changes, such as redness, dimpling, puckering, scaling or a rash
  • Breast pain
  • Nipple changes, including a nipple turning inward or nipple discharge 

What causes fibroadenoma

We don’t know why some people develop fibroadenomas. The likelihood of developing a fibroadenoma may be linked to changes in hormone levels, especially estrogen. For example, fibroadenomas tend to decrease when estrogen levels drop in menopause. They tend to grow larger with high estrogen levels, like in pregnancy.


If you have fibroadenoma symptoms or your doctor thinks you may have a fibroadenoma breast lump, you’ll probably have some of the same tests you would have for any lump or spot in the breast. The tests you need may depend on factors like your age or if you have dense breast tissue.

Most of the time, your diagnosis will include a clinical exam and imaging tests. These imaging tests give your care team a detailed look at the lump and the surrounding area. Sometimes, imaging tests are all that’s needed to diagnose your condition. Other times, people also need a biopsy, which takes a tissue sample from the lump and sends it to a lab for testing.

Imaging tests

The three main imaging tests used by your healthcare provider to get a closer look at your breast tissue include:

  • Mammogram: A mammogram takes images of your breast tissue using X-rays. However, if you have dense breast tissue, it may be harder to distinguish the lump from the thick tissue around it—since both can appear white on a mammogram.
  • Ultrasound: Your care team may recommend a breast ultrasound to provide additional images of your breasts, especially if you have dense breasts. Ultrasounds use sound waves to provide images of your breast.
  • MRI: Breast magnetic resonance imaging, or an MRI of the breast, is another way to get detailed images of your breasts. MRIs use computer software along with strong magnets and radio waves.


Sometimes, you’ll need a breast biopsy to confirm that the lump in your breast is a fibroadenoma. This test takes a small sample of the tissue in the lump and sends it to a lab, where a doctor specializing in studying body tissues will examine the sample.

Two common types of breast biopsy for fibroadenomas are:

  • Fine-needle aspiration uses a very small needle with a syringe to take a sample from the lump. It’s the least invasive type of breast biopsy.
  • Core needle biopsy uses a hollow needle slightly bigger than the one used in fine-needle aspiration. It allows your provider to take a cylinder-shaped sample of the tissue in the lump.

Fibroadenoma treatment

Sometimes, the only care you need for a fibroadenoma is routine imaging and regular checkups. If the fibroadenoma isn’t causing any symptoms and is confirmed to be non-cancerous, your doctor may carefully monitor it instead of removing it. This is especially common if you have a fibroadenoma during hormonal changes, like pregnancy, where it might shrink on its own.

In other cases, you may choose to have a fibroadenoma removed. Your healthcare team might recommend fibroadenoma removal when the lump is large or getting more prominent, if your biopsy results weren’t clear, or if it’s causing symptoms like pain or changes in the shape of the breast.

Fibroadenoma removal

If you decide to have a fibroadenoma removed, the two most common options are surgery to remove the fibroadenoma and a procedure to freeze the lump.

  • Excisional breast biopsy is a surgical treatment option for fibroadenoma. During this minimally invasive procedure—a lumpectomy—your surgeon removes the fibroadenoma and a little of the tissue around it.

  • Cryoablation uses ultrasound imaging guidance, a probe and a special gas to freeze the fibroadenoma tissue and destroy it without surgery.

Our locations near you

When you have fibroadenoma symptoms, arrange an appointment with your Primary Care Provider. We offer several locations in North and Central Texas to monitor and diagnose fibroadenomas.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can fibroadenoma turn into cancer?

    No. A fibroadenoma is a non-cancerous breast lump that doesn’t turn into cancer. And most fibroadenomas don’t increase your risk of developing breast cancer later. If you have a complex fibroadenoma, talk with your doctor about how it affects your overall risk.

  • Are fibroadenomas painful?

    Fibroadenomas are sometimes painful. Many fibroadenomas don’t cause pain, but some can cause tenderness or discomfort when touched. This tenderness is often worse right before the start of your period.

  • Do fibroadenomas grow?

    Fibroadenomas may grow, get smaller or stay the same. If they do grow, it’s typically slow. Fibroadenomas often grow more when you have high estrogen levels, such as when taking hormone replacement therapy or during pregnancy.

  • Do fibroadenomas go away?

    Sometimes, fibroadenomas stay the same or go away on their own. For example, it’s common for fibroadenomas to get smaller or go away when estrogen levels drop after menopause.

  • How common are fibroadenomas?

    Fibroadenomas are the most common benign or non-cancerous breast lump, especially in younger people. As many as 1 in 10 people with breasts will have a fibroadenoma in their lifetime.