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Breast Anatomy

 
Breast Anatomy

Chapter: 2 - Breast Anatomy

Subchapter: 1 - Breast Anatomy

Anatomy & Functions
Throughout these videos, as you learn about breast cancer, we will repeatedly reference the anatomy of the breast. Understanding the different parts and functions will help you better grasp the details of breast cancer.

Adipose Tissue
The female breast is mostly made up of a collection of fat cells called adipose tissue. This tissue extends from the collarbone down to the underarm and across to the middle of the ribcage.

Lobes, Lobules, and Milk Ducts
There are also areas called lobes, lobules, and milk ducts. A healthy female breast is made up of 12–20 sections called lobes. Each of these lobes is made up of many smaller lobules, the gland that produces milk in nursing women. Both the lobes and lobules are connected by milk ducts, which act as stems or tubes to carry the milk to the nipple.

Lymph System
Also within the adipose tissue, is a network of ligaments, fibrous connective tissue, nerves, lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and blood vessels.

The lymph system, which is part of the immune system, is a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes running throughout the entire body. Similar to how the blood circulatory system distributes elements throughout the body, the lymph system transports disease-fighting cells and fluids. Clusters of bean-shaped lymph nodes are fixed in areas throughout the lymph system; they act as filters by carrying abnormal cells away from healthy tissue.

In this chapter we looked at the anatomy of the breast, focusing on the milk ducts, lobes, lobules, lymph system, and lymph nodes.

Related Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    Is 8 cm big?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Jennifer Jones Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Mine was 7cm. It shrunk to 5mm after chem.

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Yes but it is treatable. Mine was about the size of a hard baseball. It left me with a right beast that looked like 1/2 was bitten off but the cancer was gone.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What is the significance of isolated tumor cells in a single lymph node? (a small five cell cluster of about 1mm)

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Although the amount of cells seems small, the significance lies in the fact that the cancer moved into the lymph nodes. Chemotherapy will insure that any cell that got free will be killed and your chance of recurrence will be reduced.

      Comment
    • Nancy L Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I suggest speaking to your surgeon and to an oncologist, perhaps even requesting the Oncotype Dx testing of the cells. I was faced with a similar situation - two microscopic cancer cells in my nodes - and after a great many sleepless nights, chose to follow my surgeon's advice. He said the cells...

      more

      I suggest speaking to your surgeon and to an oncologist, perhaps even requesting the Oncotype Dx testing of the cells. I was faced with a similar situation - two microscopic cancer cells in my nodes - and after a great many sleepless nights, chose to follow my surgeon's advice. He said the cells were too small to test further and chemo would only increase my survival chances by approx. 2%, so I chose no chemo. After 4 years of Arimidex, I'm still going strong. Your situation may be different, certainly, so the advice of your doctors is critical. Ask lots of questions. Best of luck to you.

      Comment
  • Marie Bailey Profile

    What stage would it be if breast cancer spread to lymph node within the breast?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I was diagnosed in 2006 with Invasive ductal carcinoma with a 2.2cm tumor ER+ PR+ Her2- with 1 node, microscopically positive. My stage went from 2A to 2B when the node was positive. My treatment plan did not change, I chose to have a mastectomy but could have had a lumpectomy. I had 4 rounds...

      more

      I was diagnosed in 2006 with Invasive ductal carcinoma with a 2.2cm tumor ER+ PR+ Her2- with 1 node, microscopically positive. My stage went from 2A to 2B when the node was positive. My treatment plan did not change, I chose to have a mastectomy but could have had a lumpectomy. I had 4 rounds of AC and 5 years of the hormone blocking drug, Femara. I was post menapausal too at 59 years old.
      I think there are other factors in staging and not just a positive lymph node. There will be other women on this board who will check in and help answer your question.
      Take care, Sharon (love that gorgeous parrot!)

      2 comments
    • frances pensato Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a 1.2cm tumor in my left breast. I had 3 lymph nodes removed and 1 node was positive with the cancer. I am considered a stage 2a. But everyone is different so your oncologist will let you know your correct stage. Good luck and sending you prayers.

      Comment
  • Cindy Jameson Profile

    I have recurrent breast cancer, it is now in the lymph nodes, does the survival rate go down with recurrent cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • L D  Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2004

      I have had breast cancer 4 times, all low stage and once spread to the lymph nodes. I had negative margins after each surgery. This 4th time, I'm taking chemo to hopefully knock this thing out for good. I think it probably has more to do if it spread to other areas and what stage it is. I have...

      more

      I have had breast cancer 4 times, all low stage and once spread to the lymph nodes. I had negative margins after each surgery. This 4th time, I'm taking chemo to hopefully knock this thing out for good. I think it probably has more to do if it spread to other areas and what stage it is. I have heard of women who live with breast cancer for a long time as a managed disease.

      Comment

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