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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

  • Cindy Jameson Profile

    I have recurrent breast cancer, it is now in the lymph nodes, does the survival rate go down with recurrent cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 1 answer
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Cindy, i don't know the answer to your question but there is a wonderful support board at breastcancer.org. I am stage 3C and have found out so much info there. There is a group of stage 4 ladies that are wonderful. Good luck in your journey!!

      Comment
  • Nicole W Profile

    Has anyone had a low score on the Oncotype test but still chosen chemo? I had lumpectomy with negative nodes but lymphovascular invasion so I think I want to be as aggressive as possible despite the side effects of chemo, but not sure yet.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2013
    over 5 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Susan Green Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      My onco score was 29 and I decided not to have chemo or radiation. My oncologist wanted me to go through both. She said that it would only increase my chances of cancer returning by 5 percent, and that was not enough for me. I had a mastectomy in Jan. of this year and am doing fine. My cancer...

      more

      My onco score was 29 and I decided not to have chemo or radiation. My oncologist wanted me to go through both. She said that it would only increase my chances of cancer returning by 5 percent, and that was not enough for me. I had a mastectomy in Jan. of this year and am doing fine. My cancer was fed by hormones. I had a lump that was 5 cm with negative lymph nodes. I would talk to my oncologist to see how likely your cancer would return without the chemo or radiation. This was my choice. I am on hormone blockers for 5 years, and I felt that if that is what was feeding the cancer, it should be enough as they removed everything! Good luck with whatever you decide and go through!

      2 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Nicole,
      Your Oncologist will give you the long list of side effects from chemotherapy. You are literally take a type of poison which kills both cancer cells and other fast dividing good cells. It's a tough call. After having been through chemo, I would look long and hard at all sides of this. ...

      more

      Nicole,
      Your Oncologist will give you the long list of side effects from chemotherapy. You are literally take a type of poison which kills both cancer cells and other fast dividing good cells. It's a tough call. After having been through chemo, I would look long and hard at all sides of this. You can't tell if you are going to be the one the chemotherapy does irreparable harm and damage to your body. I came out of it with severe osteoporosis. Other women come out with heart damage that can't be repaired. A woman I worked with and my mother-in-law both died of the heart complication..... not their cancer's. There is no way to advise or describe how you will feel going through chemotherapy. It is a very tough struggle in which you have to depend on others to help get you through it. If you have a job, you may not be able to continue until you are through treatment. If you have children, they are going to be seeing a pretty sick Mommy. On top of that.... you will lose your hair, possibly eyelashes, eyebrows, too..... the worst of all....ugh.

      Women need to choose the treatment options and be as aggressive as will make them feel they have done what is possible. Despite a low onco score, you really want to feel you have done every treatment available to you. If so, then it is really only up to you. My Onc and I discussed women who, no matter if a treatment is only going to be of 1% benefit to them, they still wanted it. This is your body, your choice, your life and if choosing to go ahead with a more aggressive treatment then it doesn't matter what anybody else advises.
      I hope more weigh in on your question.... it's a tough one.
      Take care, and good luck, Sharon

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Where does breast cancer usually spread to first if it spreads?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 2 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      The most common places breast cancer can spread to are the lymph nodes, the muscle tissues in the chest wall, etc, the bones, bone marrow, lungs, liver, & brain.

      Comment
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      It has to break out of duct first, but sentinel nodes are the first places it likes to go

      Comment
  • petra smith Profile

    Have a long thick lump like in between the breast and the armpit, what could it be?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Jessica Fisher Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      Get it checked ASAP!! Better safe than sorry

      5 comments
    • Tyronzia C.majors Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      EArly Detection is the key! Get it checked out! The earlier the Better! Good Luck!

      Comment

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