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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

  • shen cruces Profile

    I had my mastectomy and axillary l nodes taken out on feb 22nd. No real pain just a weird burning/tingling/numb sensation under the arm and down the bicep. Anyone else experience this? Did it get better? How long did it take?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    almost 7 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      It sounds as if there was a nerve that was disturbed in the area of your surgery. The burning, tingling is a sign of that. It should slowly get better with time. Nerve fibers take a while to return to normal. Be SURE to talk to your doctor about this and have him/her explain it to you.

      Comment
    • Cheryl Wornham Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes I did have a node taken it was aug of last year and I still have some strange feeling in my arm not sure how long it will be like this I would talk to your Dr. about it
      Take care

      Comment
  • 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
    over 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
  • tina benco Profile

    Have breast cancer stage one not in my lymph nodes, started radiation but they stopped it and now they said I might need chemo will could that possibly be and why would I need it

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Tina,
      I have found that many times breast cancer has a preliminary diagnosis and after surgery, when the pathologists really take apart the tumor, they make a discovery that changes the treatment plan. It is the way of cancer, it is incredibly sneaky and that is why it has eluded a cure for so...

      more

      Tina,
      I have found that many times breast cancer has a preliminary diagnosis and after surgery, when the pathologists really take apart the tumor, they make a discovery that changes the treatment plan. It is the way of cancer, it is incredibly sneaky and that is why it has eluded a cure for so many years. If you do have to go through chemotherapy, you just DO IT. You do not want to go through this again within 5 years. Taking the prescribed treatment is the best, disappointment and all. Hang in there, you can do this. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I was diagnosed stage 1 with no lymph node involvement. I had surgery and then did an OncoType DX test to see if chemo. was needed. I came in right on the number to avoid chemo. but in adding it it dropped my recurrence rate way down so I opted for chemo. I also had radiation treatments that...

      more

      I was diagnosed stage 1 with no lymph node involvement. I had surgery and then did an OncoType DX test to see if chemo. was needed. I came in right on the number to avoid chemo. but in adding it it dropped my recurrence rate way down so I opted for chemo. I also had radiation treatments that included my axilla even with the negative nodes. You need to be talking with your doctor(s) and get the answers to the questions you asked as your treatments are just for you and you only.

      1 comment
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Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.

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