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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

    Was anyone "shocked" by finding cancer in the lymph nodes during surgery after good reports from the ultrasound and MRI?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had 1 node positive during my SNB. I was surprised (as was my surgeon). When he took them out he said all looked fine, but when the path report came back it showed one positive. I had to go back and have a axillary node dissection to check for more positive nodes - 12 taken out, all clean!...

      more

      I had 1 node positive during my SNB. I was surprised (as was my surgeon). When he took them out he said all looked fine, but when the path report came back it showed one positive. I had to go back and have a axillary node dissection to check for more positive nodes - 12 taken out, all clean! I'm glad we double checked.

      2 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Like so many women... I woke up from surgery and my surgeon said my 5 sentinel nodes were clear. When I got the pathology report, 1 node had cancer.... a small amount but positive anyway. My stage went from 2A to 2B. It didn't change my treatment but it depressed me terribly. The surgeon did...

      more

      Like so many women... I woke up from surgery and my surgeon said my 5 sentinel nodes were clear. When I got the pathology report, 1 node had cancer.... a small amount but positive anyway. My stage went from 2A to 2B. It didn't change my treatment but it depressed me terribly. The surgeon did not want to go back in and do a complete dissection as she said the chance of it being in my axillary nodes was not worth the risk of problems the surgery could cause. I am grateful for that decision. I completely understand your shock and I have never gotten the fact out of my mind. It is stuck in that dark corner I try to ignore. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Connie Logan Profile

    Is it okay after a bilateral mastectomy to have a port put on the right side which is the only side lymph nodes were removed from?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      That would be a great question for your oncologist. It seems reasonable it would be ok but not being a doctor, they should answer that for you. Port's make chemo treatments much easier.

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      The port is usually placed on the non-cancerous side. What has your Onc said about this?

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default
  • Thumb avatar default

    What is the meaning of suspected right hilar lymph nodes? Does that indicate metastasis?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      They are identifying a lymph node (the right hilar lymph node) that looks suspicious. You NEED to call the radiologist, surgeon, or oncologist to explain what this means and show you on your diagnostic tests. This is all very scary because you don't have all the information you need. I don't...

      more

      They are identifying a lymph node (the right hilar lymph node) that looks suspicious. You NEED to call the radiologist, surgeon, or oncologist to explain what this means and show you on your diagnostic tests. This is all very scary because you don't have all the information you need. I don't know where this lymph node is located. I will tell you, I had a lymph node in my chest that also looked suspicious but it turned out to be just my lymph node. It was JUST large but not cancerous.

      Please contact your doctor ASAP so you can get the entire story and what this means. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • sally fakih Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Thats exactly what is written in my report '' there are mildly prominent retrocaval , precarinal , retrosternal and suspected right hilar lymph nodes shwing homogeneous hypodensity .. No matted or amalgamated nodes are demonstrated

      Comment

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