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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

  • Denise Whitt Profile

    What is calcification in the lymph node in the upper outer quadrant of the right breast?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years Answer
  • Thumb avatar default

    What is the significance of isolated tumor cells in a single lymph node? (a small five cell cluster of about 1mm)

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Although the amount of cells seems small, the significance lies in the fact that the cancer moved into the lymph nodes. Chemotherapy will insure that any cell that got free will be killed and your chance of recurrence will be reduced.

      Comment
    • Nancy L Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I suggest speaking to your surgeon and to an oncologist, perhaps even requesting the Oncotype Dx testing of the cells. I was faced with a similar situation - two microscopic cancer cells in my nodes - and after a great many sleepless nights, chose to follow my surgeon's advice. He said the cells...

      more

      I suggest speaking to your surgeon and to an oncologist, perhaps even requesting the Oncotype Dx testing of the cells. I was faced with a similar situation - two microscopic cancer cells in my nodes - and after a great many sleepless nights, chose to follow my surgeon's advice. He said the cells were too small to test further and chemo would only increase my survival chances by approx. 2%, so I chose no chemo. After 4 years of Arimidex, I'm still going strong. Your situation may be different, certainly, so the advice of your doctors is critical. Ask lots of questions. Best of luck to you.

      Comment
  • Susan Green Profile

    Has anyone had the dye for mapping out the lymph nodes before surgery had this done without a local anesthesia?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I must have been born with non-functioning nerves.... I, too, had the mapping done and don't remember it being anything other than a bit of stinging but tolerable.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had it done without anything - it was horrible. I remember my surgeon saying "it will feel like a bee sting" and she gave me the injection. I sat straight up and ( I can take pain) and had tears running down my cheeks and said 'oh my goodness' "NO"!!! She said 'what's wrong' I said that wasn't...

      more

      I had it done without anything - it was horrible. I remember my surgeon saying "it will feel like a bee sting" and she gave me the injection. I sat straight up and ( I can take pain) and had tears running down my cheeks and said 'oh my goodness' "NO"!!! She said 'what's wrong' I said that wasn't a dang bee sting it was a swarm or hornets and she said "GREAT ; that means it hasn't moved out of the lymph nodes"! That was true it hadn't but it was the worse feeling ever!!! I know what your talking about.

      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 6 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

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