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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

    Has anyone gone in for a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy and come out with a partial mastectomy axilllary lymph node dissection?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I don't think this is all that uncommon. I remember my mastectomy was late because the woman before me ended up with a mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection. Tests can only show so much and things can change once the surgeon starts the actual surgery. It is a shock to wake up and...

      more

      I don't think this is all that uncommon. I remember my mastectomy was late because the woman before me ended up with a mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection. Tests can only show so much and things can change once the surgeon starts the actual surgery. It is a shock to wake up and discover things didn't go as expected. My surgeon told me my 5 sentinal nodes were clear. After the actual complete pathology was done, one of the nodes had a small area of cancer and my diagnosis went from a 2A to a 2B.
      I was pretty upset. This probably happens a lot more than one would think.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Yep. I was to have a lumpectomy at the bottom of the breast and up to the edge of the areola. I told him if he had to take the areola and nipple to take the whole thing He drew on me so I could see what he PLANNED to do based on the core biopsy and ultrasound and how he would arrange the the...

      more

      Yep. I was to have a lumpectomy at the bottom of the breast and up to the edge of the areola. I told him if he had to take the areola and nipple to take the whole thing He drew on me so I could see what he PLANNED to do based on the core biopsy and ultrasound and how he would arrange the the tissue. My 3 sentinel nodes were clean and he got good margins but I ended up with a partial mastectomy. The incision is well hidden in the crease beneath my breast but he had to cut to the base of the nipple and remove a tiny secftion of the areola. He did a great job piecing me back together. Until they get in there and the all the tests results are in, the final product can be an unknown to us until we wake up. Cancer has a nasty way of messing up the best plan our doctors try to accomplish for us. Good healing to you. Jo

      Comment
  • Megan Eastman Profile

    Is it normal for the veins on your breast to be visible?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 2 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      It is not abnormal for the veins on your breast to be visible. Sometimes, your veins are more pronounced if you are pale or if your breasts are growing. From what I hear, visible veins on your breasts are not associated with breast cancer, but if you are concerned about it, it never hurts to...

      more

      It is not abnormal for the veins on your breast to be visible. Sometimes, your veins are more pronounced if you are pale or if your breasts are growing. From what I hear, visible veins on your breasts are not associated with breast cancer, but if you are concerned about it, it never hurts to consult your doctor.

      Take care!

      Comment
    • Sherry Downing Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I have always had visible veins as I am very fair skinned. I was grateful for that when they injected dye to locate the exact place for the sentinel node!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Can a person still have get cancer in there lymph nodes under the under arms after a mastectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Dear Norma,
      Yes. I had 5 sentinel nodes removed but the surgeon warned me there was a small chance I could have cancer cells in any of my axillary nodes. Again the chance was very small. Since I am 5 years out now, I am fairly sure they were ok since I have not had a recurrance. Every time I...

      more

      Dear Norma,
      Yes. I had 5 sentinel nodes removed but the surgeon warned me there was a small chance I could have cancer cells in any of my axillary nodes. Again the chance was very small. Since I am 5 years out now, I am fairly sure they were ok since I have not had a recurrance. Every time I have gone to my oncologist or internist, they have always checked my axillary lymph nodes for any swelling. Breast cancer is so very sneaky, I would not be surprised for it to raise its ugly head somewhere, sometime in my life. Arrrgh. God willing, I hope not. God's blessings to you, take care, Norma, Sharon

      1 comment
    • vicki e Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      I had a mastectomy five years ago and hada recurrence in my lymph nodes this past February so the short answer is yes . Unfortunately.

      3 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    I had a second surgery as they didn't get clear margins the first time. So far I am stage 2a grade 3 2 lymph nodes involved. Is that bad? Still draining so can't get chemo yet.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 6 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Breast cancer IS just plain bad! I was 2A and after my surgery was downgraded to a 2B because I had one lymph node positive. It is better if you don't have any lymph node involvement but you deal with what you have. Not knowing any more about your breast cancer except stage and grade,(type) 2A...

      more

      Breast cancer IS just plain bad! I was 2A and after my surgery was downgraded to a 2B because I had one lymph node positive. It is better if you don't have any lymph node involvement but you deal with what you have. Not knowing any more about your breast cancer except stage and grade,(type) 2A has you far from the end of your rope. Your surgeon and/or oncologist will go over all of your tests before you go on to the next part of your treatment. You are at a very treatable stage so you will be ok. Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had lumpectomy then a second to clean up margins by the everything was done I was stage III ER no nodes. Mentally and emotionaly I was a wreck. I'm not a stupid person but I just get my head wrapped around everything. Everyday more life changing decisions to make. I had to make decisions about...

      more

      I had lumpectomy then a second to clean up margins by the everything was done I was stage III ER no nodes. Mentally and emotionaly I was a wreck. I'm not a stupid person but I just get my head wrapped around everything. Everyday more life changing decisions to make. I had to make decisions about issues I didn't think I had full understanding. Looking back I think it was denial. Breast cancer is a very bumpy road and so indivdual I finely figured out to trust my doctors/nurses/trusted and my good judgement.

      Comment

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