A fibroid breast tumor, or fibroadenoma, is a benign breast growth that can occur in one or both breast. A fibroadenoma feels like a firm and rubbery lump that is usually painless to the touch and can be moved within the breast. The lumps can respond to circulating hormones and usually grow in size in response to pregnancy, and shrink during menopause. Once diagnosed, patients with fibroadenomas have a few treatment options.
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Patience and Monitoring
Although not a surgical or drug treatment, the most common response following the diagnosis of a fibroadenoma is waiting to determine whether the lump will spontaneously regress. Since fibroadenoma tumors are non-invasive and benign, and have little capacity to turn into cancerous tumors, many patients with fibroadenomas do not undergo immediate treatment. A physician assess whether the fibroadenoma requires treatment based on the size of the growth and the symptoms experienced by the patient. MedlinePlus explains that if the fibroadenoma is left untreated, patients must undergo regular breast examinations, mammograms and ultrasounds to monitor the health of their breasts. If the tumor begins to grow or begins to cause significant pain, patients may seek fibroadenoma treatment.
The most common treatment for a fibroadenoma is surgery to remove the lump. Since a fibroid tumor in the breast is non-cancerous, doctors performing the surgery can spare any unaffected breast tissue. The surgery for removing a fibroadenoma is a lumpectomy. During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision in the breast tissue and surgically excise the fibrous lump. The doctor may also remove small biopsy specimens from healthy breast tissue to test for the presence of abnormal cells, then stich the wound to complete the procedure. After a lumpectomy, patients must take care to keep the surgical site clean to prevent infection. Normally, a simple lumpectomy is sufficient to remove the tumor, and can alleviate pain and discomfort for the patient.
Another treatment option for patients with fibroadenoma is cryoablation, a procedure in which the doctor freezes the fibroid lump. During the procedure, the doctor will make a small incision in the breast tissue and insert an ultrasound probe, allowing the doctor to image inside the breast. The fibroid lump is then frozen, killing the tumor cells. Once the tissue is frozen, the doctor removes the probe and closes the wound. The Center for Advanced Breast Care explains that once the tissue is frozen, it gradually gets broken down by the body over a period of six to 12 months. Since cryoablation is a less invasive procedure than surgery, it can be an attractive treatment option for patients with smaller or less severe fibroid tumors of the breast.