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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

    Anybody knows if positive lymph nodes change into negatives?

    Asked by anonymous

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

      Positive lymph nodes are usually removed in an axillary lymph node dissection.

      Comment
    • Laura Cornwell Profile
      anonymous
      Industry Provider

      Lymph nodes cannot be determined truly positive until they are removed or biopsied. As Diana has mentioned, the lymph nodes with cancer are usually removed during breast cancer surgery. Sometimes, if lymph nodes are positive, surgeons will want to operate again to look for more positive lymph...

      more

      Lymph nodes cannot be determined truly positive until they are removed or biopsied. As Diana has mentioned, the lymph nodes with cancer are usually removed during breast cancer surgery. Sometimes, if lymph nodes are positive, surgeons will want to operate again to look for more positive lymph nodes with cancer in them, but fortunately, these further dissections often turn up only negative lymph nodes.

      Once a lymph node has cancer in it (and is thus positive), it would not be expected to become negative unless possibly it is treated with radiation or chemo. In women who have chemo before their surgery, lymph nodes that were sampled may clear of cancer before they are completely removed in the surgery.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I am going in for a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. Could anyone please tell me about the pain involved and the experience of the whole procedure?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • P C Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 0 Patient

      Hi, I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Sep 29, 2011. My surgery went great, wide clear margins and both nodes they removed were negative. About two weeks following that, I developed some seromas in my breast at the surgery site and at the area just below node removal. My surgeon...

      more

      Hi, I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy on Sep 29, 2011. My surgery went great, wide clear margins and both nodes they removed were negative. About two weeks following that, I developed some seromas in my breast at the surgery site and at the area just below node removal. My surgeon drained the one below the node removal only one. He gave me pain medication to he me through that. About a month later, I had external pinpointed beam radiation for only 7 days, twice a day. It was not bad at all. I did have, and still do have what mu radiation oncologist calls zingers. They are very sharp pains, which have almost gone away. My seromas are completely gone. I have intermittent swelling on my right breast, which they say is normal. It also is less and less as time passes. Right now, I am taking Tamoxifen and Effexor. I am feeling so much better, but still not totally back to feeling as I did before my DCIS surgery, but I will get there. I had my 6 month mammogram and it was all good, only showed scar tissue from surgery and radiation. every so often, I have a bit of nausea, but I have found that if I drink ginger ale, it really helps. I have a prescription for Compazine, but have only had to use it twice. I had a little nausea and fainting incident a few months ago, but it all worked out. I fell pretty hard and had to have some metal stitches in my head, and a few days I the hospital to make sure it was nothing more Eros causing me to faint. All in all, it is goin good for me. My whole procedure was eventful, but not a bad thing. It is best to educate yourself on your contusion, mine was DCIS, stage 0 , clear margins, neg sentinel nodes, but positive estrogen and progesterone receptors. This is the reason for Tamoxifen. The Effexor was to counteract the hot flashes and it has really helped me feel better and speed up recovery. If you understand you care for your cancer plus a good support network, things, or me anyway, go muc smoother.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      We are unique individuals and can have a range of reactions to any procedure. I was on the "good" end of everything. I did not seem to have much discomfort with anything. My perception of discomfort to the sentinel node mapping was no more than pinching. The tech told me I would feel that......

      more

      We are unique individuals and can have a range of reactions to any procedure. I was on the "good" end of everything. I did not seem to have much discomfort with anything. My perception of discomfort to the sentinel node mapping was no more than pinching. The tech told me I would feel that... which I did but it was nothing significant to me. I had 5 sentinal nodes removed. I had a mastectomy, I took no pain medication afterwards. I was up and around within 3 days. We all seem to have a fear or fears of what is about to happen. My big fear was the anesthesia. Since I was so afraid of it, I "interviewed" anesthesiologists and got recommendations. I think I was just SO HAPPY to wake up, the rest of the post-op stuff was nothing. We all have different pain tolerance. Mine, is obviously, on the high side. I would never say to a woman "Oh, it's nothing" because it isn't. There are a lot of mental images that go through every woman's mind. There may be some unexpected post-op problems that come up which you can't be prepared for. The other thought that went through my mind as I was approaching the surgery.... this was something I had to so to save my life. I developed a positive let's-get-going attitude and marched right into it. Sometimes bravery comes from acting that way. I became brave by --pretending-- to be brave. I wish you the very best and hope you have as easy a time as I did. I had a young woman surgeon who specialised in breast surgery. I had utmost confidence in her and my young woman anesthesiologist. I was not disappointed. Blessings to you in your journey. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
  • connie gonzalez Profile

    I had a mammogram and breast ultrasound in April 2017. I have notice since the past two weeks about a two inch red rash. I get a burning sensation from there and my breats hurt and my nipples. Should I be alarmed

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 1 answer
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      Any changes to one's body should be checked by their doctor as some testing may be needed.

      Comment
  • Bayla Geger Profile

    What do breasts look like when you have breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 3 answers
    • Buster OBuster Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Mine looked completely normal except for this lump sticking out:). Which was cured with a lumpectomy. Now all I have is a 3" scar on my breast

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      Sometimes they look completely normal, but you have pain or can feel a lump in your breast. Other times the nipple can be inverted or red. You should always contact your doctor if you see or feel anything unusual.

      Comment

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