Treat or wait – what is right for me?
The breast is not just any old part of the body: It is a symbol of femininity, beauty and motherhood… The decision for or against treatment of a fibroadenoma is therefore often not so easy.
In many cases, if a fibroadenoma is barely growing or only growing slowly, it is left up to the woman to decide if she would rather wait or have the lump removed. Women younger than 35 without a genetic risk of breast cancer in the family and with a very small fibroadenoma are usually advised to wait and attend regular follow-up examinations. However, there are some psychological or physical reasons that could prompt treatment:
In cases of marked symptoms, such as ongoing pain in the breast or problems that repeatedly occur before the period, doctors often recommend treatment. Minor problems in everyday life, such as tenderness when sleeping on the stomach, may sometimes impair the long-term feeling of wellbeing.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
If you are planning to fall pregnant soon, treatment is worth considering: fibroadenomas often grow fast and in rapid spurts during pregnancy due to the altered hormone balance. This can also cause problems during breastfeeding, though this is not necessarily the case.
Even the type of treatment for the fibroadenoma affects breastfeeding: problems could occur during breastfeeding after surgery due to the formation of scar tissue. Here, an alternative is echotherapy. Because the size of the fibroadenoma is reduced without cuts, the breast tissue does not scar, which makes breastfeeding easier. (see also Testimonials.)
When deciding for or against treatment if you are planning a pregnancy, it is also important that the fear of possible complications caused by the fibroadenoma do not overshadow the joy of the pregnancy and the early days with the baby. Ask your gynaecologist to estimate how the position and development of your fibroadenoma will affect breastfeeding.
Too large, too small, the wrong shape… Women are often very critical of the shape of their breasts. Depending on its position, a fibroadenoma can change the shape of the breast. There may be bulges that are bigger or smaller, or the breast with the fibroadenoma may be obviously bigger than the other. The feeling that the breast is no longer as attractive as before can be stressful and lead to insecurities.
All physical changes can also naturally have a major effect on psychological well-being. The feeling of no longer being attractive or worries about possible problems during breastfeeding – all of this can, over time, cause major internal stress.
The worst part of it for some patients, however, is the fear that the lumps could still develop into cancer. This fear is not medically justified in most cases, but when it is severe, it should be taken seriously. Speak to your gynaecologist about this and get help.
How do you now make the decision about what suits you? First, calmly discuss everything that concerns you about the fibroadenoma extensively with your gynaecologist. Also, ask yourself in relation to all the points above: how much does this symptom or this aspect restrict me? How much is my life changed because of it and how stressed do I feel? Your personal attitude is a key factor!
(Read more about the possibility of treatment without cuts or scars: Echotherapy – Questions and Answers)