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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

    Had lumpectomy and Sentinel Node Biopsy a year ago, followed by radiation. Recently developed a tight pulling sensation in my arm, especially inside my elbow, but nothing visible. Does this sound like a mild case of cording? Should I get it checked?

    Asked by anonymous

    about 3 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Yes, it could be. Always best to check so if it is,you can start treatment and get you comfortable again. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • sharon s Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes. Tight and heavy are signs of chording. Get back to your arm exercises.
      Mine flares up once in a great while. Massage from the fingers up through the armpit.

      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
    almost 6 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
  • Katherine Ehrlich Profile

    I am 3 weeks post surgery. Had right side partial mastectomy with reconstruction. Left side breast reduction with reconstruction. The question is: why am I getting sharp pains deep within my left breast? I just started having them two days ago.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Are your pains constant? Or do they come and go? During surgery there is about of nerve damage and as the nerves start to heal they kind of make like stabbing types if pain. As the incision heals there is also a type of pulling or squeezing pain as the scar gets tighter. These pains come and...

      more

      Are your pains constant? Or do they come and go? During surgery there is about of nerve damage and as the nerves start to heal they kind of make like stabbing types if pain. As the incision heals there is also a type of pulling or squeezing pain as the scar gets tighter. These pains come and go for 6 months to a year. 5 years since my surgery and out of the blue will get those twitches in by breast area every now and then. Other women I've talked too also mention this type of pain. Talk to your doctor and let them know what you are feeling.

      1 comment
    • Diane Washington Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Yes I am five months out still have sharp pains and doctor says says nerve damage no concern. Time heals

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I've had an inverted nipple my whole life, and I have a slight pain every now and then beneath it. I'm 21 years old. Is this normal for someone who naturally has in inverted nip? I'm embarrassed to tell my mom about this and worried to go to the doctors.

    Asked by anonymous

    about 3 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      At your age you can make your own doctor appointments. At your next yearly check up with the gyn he/she should be doing a breast check. If you haven't been doing you female yearly find a gyn and get a breast check.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Make an appointment with your doctor. This is of concern to YOU. You don't have to tell you mother about this if it embarrasses you. You are an adult and should have this checked. We can't tell you what is wrong and why this is happening. We certainly can't tell you this is all right and...

      more

      Make an appointment with your doctor. This is of concern to YOU. You don't have to tell you mother about this if it embarrasses you. You are an adult and should have this checked. We can't tell you what is wrong and why this is happening. We certainly can't tell you this is all right and nothing to worry about. If I were you, I would see why this is happening.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment

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