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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

    My surgeon removed 8 lymph nodes which matched my path report BUT I just noticed my path report says "Total of lymph nodes examined (sentinel and nonsentinel): 3". Is it normal for the pathologist NOT to examine all the nodes removed??

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Sonja, I agree with Jo. When they remove lymph nodes the surgeon can usually tell is lymph nodes are positive just by appearance and texture. I had 5 nodes tested. After my surgery, my surgeon came in and told me my nodes were clear. She sent all in for a path report and one ended up...

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      Hi Sonja, I agree with Jo. When they remove lymph nodes the surgeon can usually tell is lymph nodes are positive just by appearance and texture. I had 5 nodes tested. After my surgery, my surgeon came in and told me my nodes were clear. She sent all in for a path report and one ended up being microscopically involved. Yours probably looked so clear even from the pathlogist's point of view, they just did the three that looked the least bit suspicious. You should talk to your surgeon about this and possibly the pathologist. This is a legitimate question.... I'd be wondering too. This is your body, and you don't want some nagging thing like this to wake you up at 2:00 AM .... W-O-N-D-E-R-I-N-G. Don't stop until you have the answers that give you peace of mind. You HAVE to become your own best advocate. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I was prepped for a sentinel node biopsy just prior to my lumpectomy. The first three-sentinels- were removed and found to be negative. I had one node that appeared a little different to the surgeon but he said it was soft like the others. He was looking for soft. Both the surgery path and the...

      more

      I was prepped for a sentinel node biopsy just prior to my lumpectomy. The first three-sentinels- were removed and found to be negative. I had one node that appeared a little different to the surgeon but he said it was soft like the others. He was looking for soft. Both the surgery path and the path that was sent off were negative on the nodes. I think he would have taken more nodes if the nodes had looked suspicious. Be sure to ask your surgeon. There was a reason for what he did, even if was being super cautious.

      Comment
  • Heavy  Heart Profile

    What can you do/say to a stage four breast cancer patient who wants to give up her treatment (radiation and chemotherapy)?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It is her choice. You don't have to support the decision to love her. Ask her if she has a bucket list?

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I think you have to honor her choice. Sometimes going into palliative care (not hospice) can do wonders for patients. Treatment for cancer is difficult and if she had been going through it more that once, and this is an advanced cancer that doesn't see any improvement, support this woman. The...

      more

      I think you have to honor her choice. Sometimes going into palliative care (not hospice) can do wonders for patients. Treatment for cancer is difficult and if she had been going through it more that once, and this is an advanced cancer that doesn't see any improvement, support this woman. The place where I get my --fight-up-- is when a woman gives up before having treatment at all. If this woman has had a tough go of it, and not getting better, allow her to live the rest of her life free of the pain of further treatment and free of the guilt of choosing this way. I am so sorry... Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • gima green Profile

    Has any one had not so bad experiences with Breast radiation and if so why not? What did you do before and during not to have a bad experience?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I used aloe and aquaphor . Before rads you must wash all lotions off. I took 99% aloe with me, and put it on after treatment. I put aquaphor on at night. I didn't burn, but turned pink. I continued to used these for a couple of months after rads. The only problem that I have had with rads was...

      more

      I used aloe and aquaphor . Before rads you must wash all lotions off. I took 99% aloe with me, and put it on after treatment. I put aquaphor on at night. I didn't burn, but turned pink. I continued to used these for a couple of months after rads. The only problem that I have had with rads was that my implant became encapsulated and had to be replaced. Best of luck to you!

      3 comments
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I never had any bad experiences with radiation other than a couple of times I had to go in later as their equipment had a minor hiccup. I myself only got a bright red chest and underarm, like a really bad sunburn. My place had me use pure aloe vera gel and it kept my skin moist, intact, and...

      more

      I never had any bad experiences with radiation other than a couple of times I had to go in later as their equipment had a minor hiccup. I myself only got a bright red chest and underarm, like a really bad sunburn. My place had me use pure aloe vera gel and it kept my skin moist, intact, and without blisters. Every place has their recommendation of what to use on your skin, just don't put any on prior to treatment as it may cause really bad burns. You will be OK, take care.

      1 comment
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