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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

    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
    almost 7 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
  • Janelle Strunk Profile

    How often should I perform a Breast Self-Exam?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    about 8 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Once a month, that is how I noticed a lump which turned out to be cancer

      2 comments
    • Jo Ann Timberlake Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      A Breast Self-Exam is recommended monthly. At first you won't think you know what you are feeling for, but once you become familiar with the lumps & bumps naturally in your breast that are unique to you, then you will be in a position to notice a change.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Hi i am 15 and I am scared I might have breast cancer.one seems bigger one of my nipples has a scally itchy rash my shoulders hurt and I sometimes feel little pain in my breast.call my doctor or not could my breast just be growing?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Hi Sweetie, I am not a doctor, but I can tell you that you would be too YOUNG to have breast cancer, sounds to me like you have hormonal things going on, and that your breasts are growing. Stay away from processed foods, chemicals and exercise. Get your YEARLY check ups.. and .. Trust in the...

      more

      Hi Sweetie, I am not a doctor, but I can tell you that you would be too YOUNG to have breast cancer, sounds to me like you have hormonal things going on, and that your breasts are growing. Stay away from processed foods, chemicals and exercise. Get your YEARLY check ups.. and .. Trust in the Lord... XO

      2 comments
    • Leah Fortune Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Keep track of when they hurt and symptoms if still hurting etc go to your dr. If you are really scared go now( soon). It will make you feel better.

      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
    about 3 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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