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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

  • 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 4 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    I'm 23 year old. I have a lump in the upper outer quadrant of my right breast. I had it biopsied 5 months before... it's stage 2. I sometimes feel pain in that area not very often. Does it mean it has metastasized??

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Connie Demarest Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      GET TREATMENT RIGHT AWAY!!!!!!!!

      2 comments
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would ask your doctor to be sure nothing has changed. Have you had surgery, chemo or radiation?

      5 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    The surgeon said he removed 25 lymph nodes and 10 were cancerous. Does this mean it has probably spread elsewhere? Are these numbers normal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      As Sharon said...every woman is different. I had 15 lymph nodes removed and 13 of those were cancerous. It doesn't necessarily mean that your cancer has traveled past the lymph nodes. Your dr. May want to do more testing to make sure. I had chemo before my surgery. Then had to have more...

      more

      As Sharon said...every woman is different. I had 15 lymph nodes removed and 13 of those were cancerous. It doesn't necessarily mean that your cancer has traveled past the lymph nodes. Your dr. May want to do more testing to make sure. I had chemo before my surgery. Then had to have more afterwards. When they found the positive nodes...some of them were "extranodal" meaning the cancer had broken outside some of the lymph nodes. That was the reason I needed more chemo. I'm going through radiation now. I'm also happy to say that my last PET scan showed no cancer!! Voice your concerns with our Dr. Yes, let us know how you are. Prayers to you. :)

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      It means it has spread from the original tumor. Your doctor will probably want additional testing of the type of tumor and the aggressiveness of the cells. I had 5 sentinal lymph nodes removed and one was positive for cancer. I hope you keep us posted as your treatment continues. We, on this...

      more

      It means it has spread from the original tumor. Your doctor will probably want additional testing of the type of tumor and the aggressiveness of the cells. I had 5 sentinal lymph nodes removed and one was positive for cancer. I hope you keep us posted as your treatment continues. We, on this board, want to support every woman who is going through this journey. All of our stories are different but we all care for each other.
      Take care, Sharon

      4 comments
  • Abby Robinson Profile

    Is your entire breast supposed to be "soft" without ANY hardness at all? Not even where it starts to protrude from the chest?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 1 answer
    • Alice Eisele Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      Everyone is different. Some women have very dense breast tissue and it may feel lumpy normally. Others have very soft breast. The important thing is to know your own body and be aware of any changes in apperance and texture.

      View the educational video on this site. It contains great...

      more

      Everyone is different. Some women have very dense breast tissue and it may feel lumpy normally. Others have very soft breast. The important thing is to know your own body and be aware of any changes in apperance and texture.

      View the educational video on this site. It contains great information.

      Comment

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