Fibroids and Breast Cancer

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, women are encouraged to get preventative screenings to assess their risk. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, and fibroids are the most common noncancerous tumors in women of reproductive age. 

Early detection of fibroids can help to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life and should be just as essential as breast cancer screenings.

Breast Pain and Fibroids

Many women experience swollen, tender breasts during or before their period. This common premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptom is always considered normal and tends to occur because of increased hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone. Breast pain usually disappears after a period is over, and these hormone levels return to normal.  

Yet, suppose you have breast pain that is severe, persistent, or unrelated to your menstrual cycle. In that case, it is important to talk to your doctor to rule out other underlying conditions, such as fibroids.  

Fibroids are noncancerous growths in the uterus. They are common, affecting up to 80% of women by the time they reach menopause. Fibroids can range from small, undetectable growths to large masses weighing several pounds.  


Signs of fibroids include:  

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding  
  • Pelvic pain  
  • Pressure or bloating in the abdomen  
  • Back pain  
  • Frequent urination  
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder  
  • Trouble getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term  

Fibroids can also cause breast pain. This is because fibroids can produce hormones, such as estrogen, affecting breast tissue.  

Please talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about breast pain or fibroids. If fibroids are suspected, it is important to talk to a fibroid specialist, as they are able to provide proper testing, diagnosis and personalized treatment plan if needed.  A fibroid specialist will use imaging such as an ultrasound or MRI to determine the size, number and location of fibroids.   

Find a Fibroid Specialist Near You

Fibroids and Breast Cancer: What You Need to Know

It is important to note that the connection between hormone levels is not fully understood. However, we do know that hormone levels can affect the growth and development of cells throughout the body, including breast cells and uterine cells. That why screenings play an important role in managing one’s health.

Fibroids and breast cancer are two common conditions that affect women, and new research suggests that there may be a link between the two.

Two recent studies published in the journals Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention and Journal of Gynecological Oncology found that women with fibroids were more likely to develop breast cancer. The risk increased with the number of fibroids a woman had.

While more research is needed to understand the exact connection between fibroids and breast cancer, scientists believe that it may be due to several factors, including:

  • Estrogen: Elevated estrogen levels can promote the growth of both fibroids and breast cancer cells.  
  • Genetics: Women with a family history of fibroids or breast cancer are more likely to develop both conditions.  
  • Prolactin: Prolactin is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It can stimulate the growth of fibroids and breast cancer cells.

These findings are a serious health concern for women, especially those with a history of fibroids. While the risk of breast cancer is slightly higher in women with fibroids, it is important to note that the vast majority of women with fibroids will not develop breast cancer.

Understanding the Role of Estrogen in Women’s Health and Disease

Estrogen is a hormone that plays a key role in many aspects of female health.  Women should be aware of the role estrogen in the development of a number of health conditions, including fibroids. There are a number of factors that can influence a women’s estrogen levels including:

  • Age: Estrogen levels naturally decline with age. However, women who go through menopause later in life have a longer exposure to estrogen, which can increase their risk of developing certain conditions.
  • Weight: Estrogen is produced in fat cells, so women who are overweight have higher estrogen levels.
  • Genetics: Women with a family history of fibroids or breast cancer are more likely to develop these conditions. 
  • Reproductive history: Women who start menstruating early and go through menopause late are more likely to develop fibroids.  
  • Certain medical conditions: Some medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis, can cause estrogen levels to rise.

Being aware of risk factors can help women be proactive about their health and take steps to detect disease early, when they are most treatable.

If you have a family history of fibroids, it’s important that you talk with your doctor so you can be monitored for fibroid symptoms. Read more about high estrogen levels can impact the growth of uterine fibroids.

 Symptoms of Fibroids

Fibroids can lead to a wide range of symptoms and these can vary in severity. Some women do not experience any noticeable symptoms, while others encounter severe pain and discomfort.  Signs of fibroids include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Prolonged periods
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Backache
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Enlarged abdomen

If you have any of the symptoms listed above, it is important to see a doctor to rule out fibroids or other medical conditions.

Take our Fibroid Symptom Quiz

Managing Your Health  

 If you have fibroids or breast pain, you should see your doctor immediately. Early detection and treatment are essential for improving outcomes.  

Fibroid specialists are interventional radiologists who use image-guided technology such as ultrasounds and MRIs to locate fibroid tumors and can provide you with an accurate diagnosis.  A Fibroid Specialist has the expertise to accurately diagnose fibroids, even when they are small or difficult to see. They can provide you with the most up-to-date information on fibroids and help you to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

Key Takeaway   

If you have any of the symptoms of fibroids, such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, or pressure, it is important to see a doctor to get a diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with fibroids, you may want to consider seeing a fibroid specialist to discuss your treatment options. Women with fibroids should be aware that the are at a higher risk for breast cancer and should monitor their health accordingly. While fibroids are not cancerous, it is important to monitor your health and seek treatment early if you experience fibroid symptoms.

Fibroid specialists can perform a variety of tests to assess the size, location, and type of fibroids you have. This information is essential for developing a personalized treatment plan.

UFE Treatment

It is important to know your fibroid treatment options so that you can make an informed decision about the best way to manage your condition. Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE) is a minimally invasive procedure that is an effective treatment for uterine fibroids.

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It’s important to talk to a fibroid specialist to find the best treatment for you. Some treatments are more effective, like UFE, and have fewer side effects.

Benefits of UFE include:

  • It is a minimally invasive procedure, which means that there is less pain and scarring than with a myomectomy or hysterectomy.
  • It has a shorter recovery time than surgery. Patients are able to go home the same day as the procedure and return to work within a week.
  • It is effective in shrinking fibroids and reducing symptoms.
  • It is a safe procedure with a low risk of complications.
  • It preserves the uterus and a woman’s fertility.

Watch Our Video About UFE

USA Fibroid Centers for Fibroid Treatment

Our knowledgeable fibroid specialists at USA Fibroid Centers can provide the support you need to deal with fibroids. Our accredited fibroid specialists are experienced in UFE and will help you get the treatment you need that can reduce and eliminate uncomfortable symptoms.

With over 40 locations around the country, finding a clinic near you is simple. Contact us at 855.615.2555 to schedule an appointment to learn more about UFE.