Key Points about Phyllodes Tumors of the Breast
- Phyllodes tumors of the breast are rare and begin in the connective tissue of the breast.
- The majority of Phyllodes tumors of the breast are benign (noncancerous).
- Having a benign Phyllodes tumor does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer in the future.
- Treatment for Phyllodes tumors of the breast typically includes surgery and can be followed by other therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or hormone therapy.
Phyllodes tumors of the breast is a rare type of breast tumor that begins in the connective tissue of the breast. This condition accounts for less than 1 percent of all breast tumors.
About 75 percent of Phyllodes tumors of the breast are benign or noncancerous. Having a benign Phyllodes tumor of the breast does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer. However, your doctor may monitor you more closely because these tumors can come back after surgery.
Phyllodes tumors of the breast causes
Experts don’t yet know what causes Phyllodes tumors of the breast.
Phyllodes tumors of the breast risk factors
The following factors may increase your risk for developing this condition:
- Being female
- Being between the ages of 40 and 50
- Having Li-Fraumeni syndrome (a rare, inherited condition)
Phyllodes tumors of the breast symptoms
The primary symptom of this condition is a lump in the breast that may be painful, grows quickly and stretches the skin.
Phyllodes tumors of the breast diagnosis
Your doctor will use one or more of the following tests to diagnose this condition:
- Breast exam - your doctor will begin by performing a breast exam, in which he or she uses the pads of the fingers to carefully check your breasts for abnormalities.
- Biopsy - during this test, your doctor removes a biopsy (tissue sample) from the suspicious area. The biopsy is sent to the lab for close analysis, where technicians can determine if there are any abnormalities present.
- Breast ultrasound - this type of imaging test uses sound waves to create detailed images of the inside of your body. Your doctor can use ultrasound images to determine if there are any abnormalities present.
- Mammogram - this type of imaging test is a specialized X-ray used to screen the breasts for abnormalities.
Phyllodes tumors of the breast treatments
Depending on your personal health history, the extent of your Phyllodes tumors of the breast and other factors, your oncologist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Surgery - in most cases, the treatment for this condition is breast-conserving surgery to remove the tumor. Your surgeon will work to preserve as much surrounding healthy tissue as possible. In some cases, you may opt to undergo reconstructive surgery following surgery to treat the breast.
- Chemotherapy - you may need to undergo chemotherapy after your surgical treatment if the tumor is cancerous. During chemo, medication is used to destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy can be taken via an oral (by mouth) pill or intravenously (through a vein). Chemotherapy can help destroy any cancerous cells that your surgeon was not able to remove surgically.
- Hormone therapy - your doctor may prescribe hormone medications, which can reduce your chance of recurrence of Phyllodes tumors of the breast after you have undergone surgery to remove the affected area.
- Radiation therapy - you may need to undergo radiation therapy if the tumor is cancerous. During this treatment, radiation is used to destroy microscopic cancerous cells that could not be removed surgically.
When should I seek care?
If you experience any of these symptoms, start by voicing your concerns and symptoms to your primary care provider. From there, your doctor may suggest seeing an oncologist for more specialized treatment.