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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

  • Sharyn Riding Profile

    Does anyone have advice about long haul flights? I've had a double mastectomy and all lymph nodes removed on one side, 4 on the other. I'm buying compression sleeves and socks. Any thing else?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Patricia Stoop Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Whew - I'm one of those marathoners too. Awesome job so far girlfriend!!!! Double mast, lymph one side, lucky no lymphodema. 22 chemo's, rads and surgery.

      Comment
    • Patricia Stoop Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      oops didn't finish... i love that you referred to it as a flight....not fight. Fights are just too exhausting for the long haul. It's a marathon eh?
      I am one year into treatment and i can share some stuff that helped me. Not sure if it will help you but here goes:
      - support network - i was...

      more

      oops didn't finish... i love that you referred to it as a flight....not fight. Fights are just too exhausting for the long haul. It's a marathon eh?
      I am one year into treatment and i can share some stuff that helped me. Not sure if it will help you but here goes:
      - support network - i was open, talked to everyone and i got so much support, love, assistance (meals and child care) in response
      - meditation - i did a two day retreat and an 8 week mindfulness stress reduction program through the cancer clinic
      - got a puppy near the end of radiation (crazy i know) but it has got me walking every single day even when i feel unwell and surprisingly i feel much better as a result. snuggles are very therapeutic
      - my favourite books are crazy sexy cancer and kicking cancer's a** - more about long haul strategies
      As for the lymphodema - luckily I didn't get that yet but know a fair bit about it. No pin pricks, cuts, etc on those arms. No extreme temperatures - I'm worried about hot tubs.... Blood pressure should be done on calf now. I have a massage therapist that specializes in post mastectomy lymphodema and she works all the scar tissue to prevent lymph back up. Stretching and arm exercises prescribed by physio - apparently you have to balance strengthening with not over-stressing the lymph

      all the best and take care!!!! Xo

      Comment
  • Renee Boone Profile

    I am on my second round of chemo and herceptin drug for stage 1 breast cancer and stage 2 lymph node positive her 2. Now I am having pain in stomach and ribcage, want ot know if that's normal. No other pain anywhere else.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 2 answers
    • Karrie Cameron Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Flu-like symptoms may occur after treatment. This includes fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint aches, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose. Diarrhea may occur. You are at a greater risk of having infections due to low whit blood cell count. You may feel some general pain, trouble...

      more

      Flu-like symptoms may occur after treatment. This includes fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, joint aches, cough, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose. Diarrhea may occur. You are at a greater risk of having infections due to low whit blood cell count. You may feel some general pain, trouble sleeping. Hope this helps. I start my herceptin on jan 30th.

      Comment
    • Kelly Leigh Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would recommend navigatecancerfoundation.org for excellent answers to questions like this. The nurse I speak with has been an oncology nurse for 29 years and answers are usually back within a day. It is sponsored by LIVESTRONG, no charge to cancer patient. Let us know!

      Comment
  • Shawna M Profile
  • Samantha Afrey Profile

    Hello, Is it normal for the surgeon to not remove any more lymph nodes if the sentinel node shows a tumour mass of 2mm? I thought that a larger mass in the modes would warrant further biopsies in the other nodes. Thanks so much! Sandra

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 3 answers
    • Lou Cam Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I'm with Sharon, please ask your doctor for answers.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Samantha,
      My surgeon removed 5 sentinel nodes and at the time of my mastectomy surgery, she said they looked cancer free. It wasn't until the final pathology was done there was micromets found in one. The surgeon said there was an 8% chance I had cancer in my other lymph nodes but she made...

      more

      Samantha,
      My surgeon removed 5 sentinel nodes and at the time of my mastectomy surgery, she said they looked cancer free. It wasn't until the final pathology was done there was micromets found in one. The surgeon said there was an 8% chance I had cancer in my other lymph nodes but she made the decision not to remove any more because of the chance of causing lymphedema which is a lifelong battle.
      I think your question needs to be posed to your surgeon because any of us would be guessing as to why that decision was made. I am now 8 years out from treatment and cancer free. I did go through 4 rounds of AC and 5 years of Letrozole. There are all sorts of reasons why your surgeon did not remove the rest of your nodes. You may have had a low grade cancer that wasn't fast growing too. When in doubt, ALWAYS ask you surgeon or oncologist. They know your case and can give you correct answers. Take care, Sharon

      2 comments

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