PD MD Heiko B. G. Franz
Fibroma is a benign tumor that develops from connective tissues. It can appear on the skin, in tendond, inner organs (womb, ovaries) and mammary glands. Fibroma of mammary gland is a solid spherical formation that does not cause pain, but contributes to the sensation of fullness before period. If a fibroma is revealed, it should be eliminated to decrease the risk of developing a cancerous tumor in mammary gland. It’s necessary to be examined by a breast physician and get timely treatment.
Today, benign tumors of mammary glands are pretty widespread diseases treated by breast physicians. Most frequently, women deal with knot fibrosing adenosis, and mammary gland fibroadenomas.
It’s not known exactly how fibroma tumor is developing, but doctors are aware of the factors that contribute to its growth. Fibroma of mammary gland is almost always revealed when a woman undergoes sudden hormonal changes (period of puberty, and menopause).
Usual fibroadenoma is the most widespread. It can have different structure: juxtacanalicular, intracanacicular and mixed. Those fibromas are no likely to become cancerous. However, there is a rare type of fibroadenoma called phyllodes (leaf-shaped). These tumors tend to grow pretty quickly and may become cancerous or regenerate into a sarcoma.
Fibroadenoma can be felt in the tissues of mammary gland like a solid round-shaped tumor, it’s easily moved, has smooth surface and doesn’t cause pain. As a rule relatively small fibroadenoma does not cause discomfort. While difusing fibrosing adenosis tends to develop fibromas throughout the entire mammary gland tissue, a usual fibroadenoma is a benign tumor.
Fibroadenoma is a clinical symptom of knot mastopathy. This form of mastopathy is usually triggered by hormonal disbalance. Fibroadenoma is usually a round solid knot with diameter ranging from a few millimeters to 5-7 centimeters.
Most often, women start noticing they can detect a knot by feeling (sometimes a few knots) that can be moved freely within the mammary gland. As a rule, fibroadenoma does not damage adjacent tissues and does not spread to other organs. However, if a solid knot has been found in woman’s chest, a biopsy should be performed to reveal possible cancerous tumor and detect breast cancer.
Diagnosis of fibroma of mammary gland is a pretty simple task for a breast specialist. During physical examination, a doctor can define a tumor-like knot, ultrasound diagnosis visualizes its location, shows its structure (fibrosis or cyst formation), its shape and size are define. Biopsy of mammary gland is made with ultrasound control.
Biopsy material is passed for cytological examination to reveal possible presence of cancerous cells and prevent mammary gland cancer. Final diagnosis is performed according to the result of histological processing of the tumor after removal.
During mammography, a fibroadenoma is shown on the image like a more solid and round formation with clear contours. Fibroadenomas that are present in patient’s body for a long time can calcify (be soaked with calcium salt) and get a higher radio-opacity.
As a rule, fibroadenoma may not show any tendency to progress and develop complications. In rare cases, it can grow quickly and deform mammary gland (sometimes there are giant fibroadenomas that fully fill a mammary gland and increase its size dramatically). Leaf-like fibroadenomas are met among giant tumors of mammary glands, and they tend to regenerate into sarcomas.
In the vast majority of cases, fibromas of mammary glands are to be removed surgically. Sometimes (if the size of fibroma does not exceed 5-8 mm), therapeutic treatment is prescribed to dissolve the tumor. A course of conservative therapy usually takes 4-6 months and is controlled with ultrasound. However, tumors rarely dissolve by themselves, even if a person follows doctor’s prescriptions strictly.
If there’s no positive dynamics because of therapeutic methods, and the tumors are too large (or fibroadenoma growth progresses), operative therapy is recommended. An assumption of breast cancer is another indication for fibroma removal.
In case of fibroadenoma, two types of operative treatment are performed: section resection of mammary gland, and tumor enucleation. Section resection is performed when there’s an assumption a patient has mammary gland cancer. Enucleation is removal of the tumor only, it is performed under local anesthesia and doesn’t require long-term post-surgery surveillance in a clinic. After tumor removal, histological processing of tissue is performed.
Post-surgery period is usually painless, and it doesn’t cause considerable discomfort. On the 7-10th day after the operation, stitches are removed. An accurately performed plastic surgery (inner stitches) does not leave very noticeable traces on the skin.
Surgical removal of fibroma in mammary gland does not cause any considerable inconveniences in further patient’s life, however, a patient should always treat the symptoms, and disease recurrence (formation of a new tumor) is possible in both mammary glands.