March 5, 2008

Fibroadenoma a Cause for Concern

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Fibroadenoma is the most common benign (non cancerous) tumor of the breast, and most commonly found in women below the age of 30. Women’s breasts are made up of three main types of tissues: glandular tissues (glands that produce milk), ductal tissue (milk-carrying ducts from the glands to the nipples) and stroma (fibrous or connective tissue and fatty tissue). Fibroadenoma involves fibrous and gland tissues in the breast. Women in their reproductive years as well girls as young as 15 are susceptible to this condition. African descent women are more likely to develop this condition as compared to white women, and at an earlier age. Women of high socioeconomic status are more prone to it than their counterparts of a lower status.

Usually these benign tumors are too small to be felt can be seen only through a microscope, but there are some that can increase in size over a period of time. The symptoms of fibroadenomas are most often hard to detect, considering that these tumors may cause no pain and could also be difficult to detect with touch. However some women do experience pain as also may have a milky discharge from their nipples. The signs, however, can be detected by self-examination of the breast. Fibroadenomas are normally round, bordered with tissues that are distinct from the neighboring breast tissue. Easily movable under the skin, the tumors feel like a small marble in the breast. The nodules are firm and not tender to touch. Clinical examinations show that the lesions are elastic, and can be palpable or non palpable, varying in sizes from 1 cm to 15 cm in diameter. Women can get either one or multiple tumors of this kind in the breast.

The causes of fibroadenomas are not known, and experts suggest that the role of genetics is almost negligible in the development of the condition. It can be said though, that the size of the tumors can change with hormonal variations. These changes in hormones occur during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Once the tumor has been detected through an ultrasound or a mammogram, a core needle biopsy will be done to get a definitive diagnosis. Doctors sometimes suggest that the fibroadenoma be left in place, if it doesn’t grow in shape or size. This is because this particular kind of tumor has a tendency to disappear over time. Doctors advice removal of the lump if the lesions’ change shape or size (growth), have abnormal biopsy results, pain or similar symptoms occur or there is a risk to cancer at a later stage.

Natural treatments can also be tried out by considering homeopathic medicines; however, very few studies have been done to prove that fibroadenoma disappears with homeopathy. A low fat, low meat as well as high fiber diet can help reduce the tumors over time. Increased olive oil intake and fatty fish is said to work against the growth of the lesions. Women with fibroadenomas should stay away from drinking alcohol and caffeine drinks. Chocolates are also a big no. In fact a daily intake of vitamin C as also Vitamin E supplements to help reduce the amounts of estrogen being created is required. Excess estrogen can cause pain and lumps in the breast.

An old and natural cure for fibroadenomas (although not proved) is the use of a warm compress on the tumor area. One of the home remedies is to take towel that is hot and soak it in castor oil. Place this towel on the area and keep a heating pad on top of it, for at least an hour. You could also massage your breasts with plain castor oil or mix it with herbs and/or essential oils. This is also said to decrease the growth process of the tumor. Apart from this, adding fresh ginger to tea or water is known to assist with fibroadenomas. Women should check their breasts or go for regular check-ups to rule out fibroadenoma or breast cancer.