Echotherapy for 
Fibroadenoma

What is a fibroadenoma?

 A fibroadenoma is a benign nodule in the female breast. When touching the breast you can feel that this nodule is mobile. It is also typical of a fibroadenoma that it is firm, smooth and clearly defined. The size can be very different – from less than one to more than 15 cm in diameter everything is possible.

How common are fibroadenoma?

With a fibroadenoma, you are not alone: ​​an estimated ten out of every 100 women develop such a nodule. This makes fibroadenomas the most common benign breast desease. Most women are between 15 and 35 years old at diagnosis. But fibroadenomas can also occur later.

Are fibroadenoma dangerous?

It is probably scary for any woman at first to discover a lump in the chest. When the doctor then diagnoses a fibroadenoma, first of all the all-clear rule applies: the probability that it will turn into a malignant tumor is extremely low: just one in every 1,000 fibroadenomas changes in this way. ¹ ²

In other words, the risk of getting breast cancer is as high or low for a woman with a fibroadenoma as it is for a woman without it. Only women with multiple or complex fibroadenomas have a slightly higher risk. ³ ⁴

¹ Buzanowski-Konaky K, Harrison EG Jr, Payne WS: Lobular carcinoma arising in fibroadenoma of the breast. Cancer 1975;35(2):450-456. ² Dupont WT, Page DL, Parl FF, Vnencak-Jones CL et al.: Long-term risk of breast cancer in women with fibroadenoma. N Engl J Med 1994;331:10-15. ³ Sklair-Levy M, Sella T, Alweiss T et al.: Incidence and management of complex fibroadenomas. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2008;190(1):214-18. ⁴ Worsham MJ, Raju U, Lu M et al.: Risk factors for breast cancer from benign breast disease in a diverse population. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2009; 118(1):1-7.

Diagnosis
Fibroadenoma

How do I discover a fibroadenoma?

Many women initially have no symptoms but discover the nodule by chance or by self-examination of the breast.

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Sometimes the fibroadenoma is noticed only during the routine examination at the gynecologist or with a mammogram.

Are fibroadenomas painful?

Pain is rare in a fibroadenoma: even if pressed, the lump is usually insensitive.

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If pain occurs, then that’s no reason to worry. A fibroadenoma may bcause pain, depending on the size and location in the breast and depending on the cycle. If the fibroadenoma is large, sensitivity and tension in the breast often grow bigger. Also, the nodule can deform the breast if the skin bulges outward.

How are fibroadenoma diagnosed?

First, the gynecologist makes a preliminary diagnosis. She examines and palpates breast and  axilla.

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If she notices any changes, she refers to the radiologist who carries out an ultrasound examination and possibly also a mammogram. A tissue sample, also known as a biopsy, is important so that the doctor can say with certainty that it is a benign nodule.

Can fibroadenoma change over time?

It is difficult to predict how a fibroadenoma develops.

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Often there is a growth spurt and then again no change for a long time. Sometimes a fibroadenoma also spontaneously forms. The growth is strongly influenced by the female hormone estrogen. This also explains why fibroadenomas often enlarge suddenly during pregnancy. However, the likelihood that the fibroadenoma becomes a malignant tumor is extremely low.

Treatment 
& Effectiveness

Does a fibroadenoma have to be treated?

Not every fibroadenoma needs to be treated. But it is important that you go regularly to your gynecologist for check-up. For women under the age of 35, with no history of breast cancer in the family and having a very small fibroadenoma, it is usually recommended to wait and go to the check-up periodically.

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If the fibroadenoma grows very fast, it may need to be removed. But there are also many other factors which may speak in favor of a treatment. For example, removal of the nodule is sometimes recommended prior to pregnancy to prevent problems from increased growth. The emotional burden of altering the shape of the breast or the pain it may generate may important to you. The decision for or against a therapy must therefore be made individually. Talk to your gynecologist.

Treatment 
& Effectiveness

Does a fibroadenoma have to be treated?

Not every fibroadenoma needs to be treated. But it is important that you go regularly to your gynecologist for check-up. For women under the age of 35, with no history of breast cancer in the family and having a very small fibroadenoma, it is usually recommended to wait and go to the check-up periodically.

Learn more +

If the fibroadenoma grows very fast, it may need to be removed. But there are also many other factors which may speak in favor of a treatment. For example, removal of the nodule is sometimes recommended prior to pregnancy to prevent problems from increased growth. The emotional burden of altering the shape of the breast or the pain it may generate may important to you. The decision for or against a therapy must therefore be made individually. Talk to your gynecologist.

How does echotherapy work?

Echotherapy is a treatment using therapeutic ultrasound (as opposed to diagnostic ultrasound). Imagine rays of sunshine shining through a magnifying glass. The rays are concentrated and hit the target with greater intensity. Echotherapy uses exactly the same principle.

The tissue of the fibroadenoma heats up very quickly to about 85°C / 185°F. As a result, during the session with the echotherapy begins a kind of “melting process”. During the treatment, a lower energy ultrasound imaging is used for the control so that the therapeutic ultrasound action can be precisely controlled.

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After treatment, echotherapy continues to have an effect and the fibroadenoma becomes smaller and smaller. This is because the body gradually absorbs the “melted” tissue.
Within three months, the size of the fibroadenoma is usually reduced by already 50%. But it continues to shrinks further. With the reduction of the fibroadenoma usually also the symptoms disappear.

Echotherapy in the treatment of fibroadenoma can be performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis. The treatment lasts between 20 minutes and 1 hour, depending on the size of the benign breast nodule. Because echotherapy works without incisions, there are no wounds, scars or other impairments.

How does echotherapy work?

Echotherapy is a treatment using therapeutic ultrasound (as opposed to diagnostic ultrasound). Imagine rays of sunshine shining through a magnifying glass. The rays are concentrated and hit the target with greater intensity. Echotherapy uses exactly the same principle.

The tissue of the fibroadenoma heats up very quickly to about 85°C / 185°F. As a result, during the session with the echotherapy begins a kind of “melting process”. During the treatment, a lower energy ultrasound imaging is used for the control so that the therapeutic ultrasound action can be precisely controlled.

Learn more +

After treatment, echotherapy continues to have an effect and the fibroadenoma becomes smaller and smaller. This is because the body gradually absorbs the “melted” tissue.
Within three months, the size of the fibroadenoma is usually reduced by already 50%. But it continues to shrinks further. With the reduction of the fibroadenoma usually also the symptoms disappear.

Echotherapy in the treatment of fibroadenoma can be performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis. The treatment lasts between 20 minutes and 1 hour, depending on the size of the benign breast nodule. Because echotherapy works without incisions, there are no wounds, scars or other impairments.

Is echotherapy an option for me?

The treatment of fibroadenoma with echotherapy is always appropriate, when a surgical procedure would be appropriate, so if the fibroadenoma grows very fast, if you have discomfort or feel burdened by the fibroadenoma psycologically

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Therapeutic ultrasound has been used successfully for many years for the treatment of tumors. In the process, the nodule’s tissue is targeted whilst optimally sparing the healthy tissue. Echotherapy uses this technique to treat fibroadenomas in the breast as well as benign nodules in the thyroid gland.

With echotherapy, in contrast to surgery, there are no incisions and therefore no scars. This is a great advantage in the treatment of breast tissue, since an operation not only scars on the surface of the skin, but also in deeper layers of tissue that make later investigations difficult and can cause problems with breastfeeding. Nor is general anesthesia necessary with echotherapy.

Is echotherapy scientifically proven?

The efficacy of echotherapy in fibroadenomas has been confirmed in several clinical studies.

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Clinical studies confirm the efficacy of echotherapy in benign thyroid nodules. A study conducted at the University Hospital of Endocrinology of Sofia shows that nodule volume of large fibroadenoma has been reduced by 90.47% on average two years after treatment with echotherapy¹.
¹R. Kovatcheva, K. Zaletel, J. Stoinov; Long-term efficacy of ultrasound-guided high-intensity focused ultrasound treatment of breast fibroadenoma; Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound; 2017.

“Patients who need surgery can avoid it thanks to echotherapy – that’s the biggest benefit of echotherapy for me!“

Dr. med. Hans-Christian Kolberg,
Specialist in gynecology and obstetrics, Marienhospital Bottrop

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