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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

  • Rachelle W Profile

    3 days ago my biopsy report came back with IDC & DCIS. Looks to be Stage 1, but it was only a stereotactic needle biopsy. 1 of 6 samples were invasive & only 2mm. What are the chances it spread? Next is surgery & checking lymph nodes. Scared...

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2014
    about 4 years 3 answers
    • Life is Good! Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      A breast cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. Sorry you have to go through this. Thankfully, it was caught early and is very treatable. Most likely, it has not spread, however even if it has, there is still a lot of hope. I was stage 2 with one node positive and doing great 11 years later. One...

      more

      A breast cancer diagnosis is overwhelming. Sorry you have to go through this. Thankfully, it was caught early and is very treatable. Most likely, it has not spread, however even if it has, there is still a lot of hope. I was stage 2 with one node positive and doing great 11 years later. One day at a time, you will get through this! Do something that brings you joy each day! Enjoy some "cancer free" moments to distract you. Yoga helps me relax. Keep the questions coming, we care about you!

      2 comments
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      It sounds like my diagnosis; 1st biopsy by U/S showed IDC with some DCIS and the 2nd one done stereotactially was all DCIS. I had 2 areas right next to each other and a 3rd area was found on surgical pathology (LC I think). My lymph nodes looked OK on the MRI but the surgeon told me she would...

      more

      It sounds like my diagnosis; 1st biopsy by U/S showed IDC with some DCIS and the 2nd one done stereotactially was all DCIS. I had 2 areas right next to each other and a 3rd area was found on surgical pathology (LC I think). My lymph nodes looked OK on the MRI but the surgeon told me she would look at them anyway; she took 8 and all were negative for mets.

      1 comment
  • Renee Boone Profile

    I am on my second round of chemo and herceptin drug for stage 1 breast cancer and stage 2 lymph node positive her 2. Now I am having pain in stomach and ribcage, want ot know if that's normal. No other pain anywhere else.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Karrie Cameron Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Flu-like symptoms may occur after treatment. This includes fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint aches, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose. Diarrhea may occur. You are at a greater risk of having infections due to low whit blood cell count. You may feel some general pain, trouble...

      more

      Flu-like symptoms may occur after treatment. This includes fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint aches, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose. Diarrhea may occur. You are at a greater risk of having infections due to low whit blood cell count. You may feel some general pain, trouble sleeping. Hope this helps. I start my herceptin on jan 30th.

      Comment
    • Kelly Leigh Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would recommend navigatecancerfoundation.org for excellent answers to questions like this. The nurse I speak with has been an oncology nurse for 29 years and answers are usually back within a day. It is sponsored by LIVESTRONG, no charge to cancer patient. Let us know!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I found a lump and it's about 5cm long I did a mammogram and a ultraasound today now I have to wait for the results. What are my chances since its that big?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Monette Hubbard Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Might be nothing, if they did not suggest getting a biopsy. Mine was just 1cm they did two mammos, ultrasound and biopsy and it was benign. Good luck! I'll be praying for you! Let us know results!

      2 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Usually, at the ultrasound they tell you if they want to schedule you for a biopsy. Did they mention anything like that? Breasts are lumpy. The majority of lumps and bumps are benign. You could have fibrocystic breasts, or a cyst that happen due to hormonal changes. Did they tell you how long...

      more

      Usually, at the ultrasound they tell you if they want to schedule you for a biopsy. Did they mention anything like that? Breasts are lumpy. The majority of lumps and bumps are benign. You could have fibrocystic breasts, or a cyst that happen due to hormonal changes. Did they tell you how long you have to wait? If it were me, I would call the office tomorrow and ask what was the diagnosis. Even if you have to have a biopsy, again, keep in mind, most of these turn out benign as well. Doctor's want to error on the side of caution. I will share with you, when I found a lump in my breast, and the doctor did the ultrasound and biopsy, she TOLD me right there that this was probably going to turn out to be cancer and she was right. Call the office tomorrow and see if they will tell you what they have found. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    A week after diagnosis now. My left shoulder/arm has been hurting for several weeks. Today I can barely lift it. Maybe its stress, or I slept funny, but I'm scared that it is related. My surgeon said that pain is not cancer, but could it be related ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    almost 5 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Stress and fear sure can tighten neck and shoulders until the pain is unbearable. You've taken the first step to health, now take a breath and do some relaxation/stretching exercise to help loosen those tortured muscles. Good luck. Keep posting. :)

      1 comment
    • Leslie Stoddard Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Ask if it could be frozen shoulder.

      1 comment

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