Even with advanced medical technology, misdiagnosis happens all the time. When it comes to breast cancer, a misdiagnosis can delay life-saving treatment and negatively impact a patient’s prognosis. Being aware of common conditions that mimic breast cancer can help patients get proper medical treatment while also offering some peace of mind. For instance, a fibroadenoma is a type of non-cancerous tumor that feels similar to breast cancer. BreastCancer.org offers the following information.
A fibroadenoma usually occurs in younger women. Some are quite small in size, only about as big as a marble, while others can be up to 5 centimeters. They are typically round or oval and tend to have a spongy feeling. Fibroadenomas usually aren’t painful. In some cases, this type of benign tumor may go away on its own, while in others it may grow bigger. Hormonal changes often affect growth patterns. For example, during pregnancy fibroadenomas usually get bigger, while they tend to shrink when a woman goes through menopause.
In general, these tumors don’t increase a person’s risk of breast cancer. They’re often diagnosed via ultrasound and may be followed up with a biopsy if they’re considered complex. Complex fibroadenoma is associated with an increased size of milk sacs in the breast, known as lobules. They’re also associated with cysts bigger than 3 millimeters, calcium deposits, or an overgrowth of certain cells.
When fibroadenomas are not considered complex, they’re usually closely monitored to detect any changes in growth patterns and other issues. If you’re concerned about a recent diagnosis, it’s best to get a second opinion if possible. You should also be diligent about scheduling follow-ups if the situation changes.