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Better Safe Than Sorry

Whether during a clinical breast examination or a self-exam, finding a lump in your breast can be a surprising and stressing discovery. Cancer is, of course, the main concern; however, it may be a fibroadenoma.

Fibroadenoma is a benign, or noncancerous, mass that is common for women in their late teenage years and early 20s, with a second peak in incidence around 40, says Dr. Elizabeth Jett, director of the OU Breast Institute.

“Fibroadenomas are nothing to worry about,” says Jett. “However, any new palpable lump in the breast needs to be fully evaluated with a physical exam and imaging.

“Too many women are told not to worry because you are too young to have cancer,” she continues. “We see breast cancer in women in their 20s all too frequently. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

Typically, an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan can be determined through imaging. However, Jett says, for older women, a biopsy is often performed.

“Fibroadenomas can be left alone once they have been shown to be stable for two to three years,” says Jett. “There are characteristic imaging findings which allow us to follow these lesions for stability.”

“If the mass is increasing in size, it should be surgically removed,” she adds.

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