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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

  • Mindy Holtz Profile

    What is asymmetry in the breast, and what should be done about it?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 2 answers
    • Survivor's Daughter Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Have it checked. It was the first thing my mom noticed prior to her mammogram showing a growth.

      1 comment
    • Elizabeth L Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      If it's new, definitely have it checked. If it's always been that way then it's a normal occurrence. No one has perfect symmetry.

      Comment
  • Michelle Everingham Profile

    I have noticed a clear leakage in my left nipple. Should I be concerned?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      We are all in agreement.... GET IT CHECKED! We can't tell if this is cancer or not but any change in your breast warrants getting it checked. Sharon

      Comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Get it checked

      Comment
  • 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
    over 7 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...

      more

      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
  • Sharyn Riding Profile

    Does anyone have advice about long haul flights? I've had a double mastectomy and all lymph nodes removed on one side, 4 on the other. I'm buying compression sleeves and socks. Any thing else?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Patricia Stoop Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Whew - I'm one of those marathoners too. Awesome job so far girlfriend!!!! Double mast, lymph one side, lucky no lymphodema. 22 chemo's, rads and surgery.

      Comment
    • Patricia Stoop Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      oops didn't finish... i love that you referred to it as a flight....not fight. Fights are just too exhausting for the long haul. It's a marathon eh?
      I am one year into treatment and i can share some stuff that helped me. Not sure if it will help you but here goes:
      - support network - i was...

      more

      oops didn't finish... i love that you referred to it as a flight....not fight. Fights are just too exhausting for the long haul. It's a marathon eh?
      I am one year into treatment and i can share some stuff that helped me. Not sure if it will help you but here goes:
      - support network - i was open, talked to everyone and i got so much support, love, assistance (meals and child care) in response
      - meditation - i did a two day retreat and an 8 week mindfulness stress reduction program through the cancer clinic
      - got a puppy near the end of radiation (crazy i know) but it has got me walking every single day even when i feel unwell and surprisingly i feel much better as a result. snuggles are very therapeutic
      - my favourite books are crazy sexy cancer and kicking cancer's a** - more about long haul strategies
      As for the lymphodema - luckily I didn't get that yet but know a fair bit about it. No pin pricks, cuts, etc on those arms. No extreme temperatures - I'm worried about hot tubs.... Blood pressure should be done on calf now. I have a massage therapist that specializes in post mastectomy lymphodema and she works all the scar tissue to prevent lymph back up. Stretching and arm exercises prescribed by physio - apparently you have to balance strengthening with not over-stressing the lymph

      all the best and take care!!!! Xo

      Comment

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