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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
    over 5 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
  • Nicole Rodgers Profile

    Are night sweats common after a bilateral mastectomy with lymph node removal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 1 answer
    • Kathy M Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I got that too one of my nurses told me that the anesthesia can do crazy things like that. If you still have your drains in make sure to keep cool to prevent infection.

      Comment
  • Susan Green Profile

    My oncologist said that cancer could have spread even though I had a mastectomy with negative lymph nodes. Has anyone had this happen?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    about 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I think it all depends on the pathology of the breast cancer. There are so many other findings once a detailed report comes back one needs more information. Did you doctor say this in a context of recommending further treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation? There is probably always a...

      more

      I think it all depends on the pathology of the breast cancer. There are so many other findings once a detailed report comes back one needs more information. Did you doctor say this in a context of recommending further treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation? There is probably always a possibility of a cancer spreading but you / we need more information. If you are unsure about additional treatment, I would advise you to get a second opinion. Susan, good luck to you. There are a ba-zillion of us alive and well post breast cancer!

      4 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Well, dang I wrote a whole long bla-bla and somehow it vanished. The testing your doctor is waiting for is probably an "Oncotest DX" This test looks at the actual tumor cells and pathologists are able to grade them as to their probability of recurrance. If they are a higher grade on the scale,...

      more

      Well, dang I wrote a whole long bla-bla and somehow it vanished. The testing your doctor is waiting for is probably an "Oncotest DX" This test looks at the actual tumor cells and pathologists are able to grade them as to their probability of recurrance. If they are a higher grade on the scale, they will recommend further treatment. This way, if they are a low grade for recurrance, you won't be receiving unnecesary treatment. My brother-in-law had breast cancer and the onco DX and his cells were so low grade he didn't have to have any further treatment after his mastectomy. I did not have an onco test 4 years ago because I had one positive lymph node. (BUT...) My oncologist had just returned from a breast cancer symposium and there had been a completion of a study which benefited me. I only had to have 4 rounds of chemo because of the study because the study showed any more chemo would NOT benefit my type of breast cancer.....YAHOOOO! . Every single day, little advancements are made in diagnostics and treatments. The way it is going, treatments are becoming less drastic than they were in the past. This test you are waiting for does take longer than the other pathology for your tumor. This will be the final one in the line of all the diagnostics. You will move along to the next step. Susan, don't worry.... you will be ok. There are a ton of positive stories out here. Women are living long lives. I hope you keep in contact. We are a great big supportive group out here. We want to help other sisters who are going through this all too common battle. Again, please stay in touch. All the best to you, we all know what you are going through. Big healing hugs, Sharon

      Comment
  • Rosanna Wieder Profile

    Have to have drain in for another week. Found out 20 of the 26 lymph nodes removed had cancer in them. Having one of those days. Just feel like crying. Any help?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 5 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I give myself 24 hour pity party. Cry, feel sorry for my self, and the very popular why mes. Then it is time to fight like you have never fought before. We are all there for you. God Bless your journey.

      3 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Rosanna,
      That is a lousy bit of news and I think the positive spin on this is knowing they are OUT of your body. You will march on and complete the rest of your treatment just like all of your sister-warriors. We are all fighting this tough opponement. You and your pro-team are winning this...

      more

      Rosanna,
      That is a lousy bit of news and I think the positive spin on this is knowing they are OUT of your body. You will march on and complete the rest of your treatment just like all of your sister-warriors. We are all fighting this tough opponement. You and your pro-team are winning this one. Your surgeon wiped out the "front-line" and now you are going after breast cancer's ~snipers~
      Rosanna, you put on your game-face and charge ahead!!! You are strong and fearless.
      We got your back, sista! Hang in there, you can do this. Sharon

      2 comments

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