What Is a Breast Adenoma?

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  • Written By: Debra Durkee
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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A breast adenoma, also known as a fibroadenoma, is a benign tumor that forms in the breast tissue of women. This non-cancerous growth is most often seen in young women that have not yet gone through menopause, and it may change size and shape over the years. In order to diagnose the condition, tests similar to those used to diagnose breast cancer are typically used, as the tumors can look and feel the same.

When a woman develops breast adenoma, a single tumor usually develops in one breast. On occasion, there can be more than one, but they are typically of similar size and may not be in the same breast. The only symptom is generally the discovery of a lump when conducting a routine self-examination or undergoing a mammogram, as it typically causes no pain. Most women who develop these benign tumors do so when they are between 20 and 30 years old.


The typical lump is only a few centimeters in diameter, but may grow if a woman becomes pregnant. The lumps are generally spherical, and when pressed on, tend to move freely within the breast tissue. The existence of a breast adenoma is not a precursor to developing breast cancer, although it has been found that this condition may indicate a slightly higher risk for developing malignant tumors later in life. Complex breast adenoma, which occurs when more than one tumor is present, may raise the risk of breast cancer slightly, while a single benign tumor has not been found to have any correlation with increased risk of any other health complications.

These lumps rarely form in women that have gone through menopause. Since breast adenoma is more common in younger women, and lumps can change during pregnancy and breast feeding, it is suspected that the growth of these tumors is connected to the production of hormones in the reproductive system. Some women have found the size of the tumors diminishing as they age, although they typically do not disappear completely.

If a tumor associated with breast adenoma continues to grow, it may be necessary to have surgery to remove it. This is generally only done in cases where the tumor is continuously growing enough to change the shape and texture of the tissue around it, and this does not mean the tumor has become cancerous. As surgery may damage or scar healthy tissues, it is usually only done after a thorough exam by a medical professional who has determined that it is the best alternative. Many tumors, however, will not grow this large and will not require surgery.


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