loading... close

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

  • 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
    over 7 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    I have bloody discharge from one breast, and after having a mammogram, ultrasound and a mri, My doctor has chosen to wait 6 months and see what develops. i AM 52. Is this ok to wait? My mother had breast cancer.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I would RUN, NOT WALK to another physician asap. This is not normal and a bloody discharge from one breast isn't a good sign. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • vicki e Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      Ditto ditto ditto to the second opinion. You must be proactive with your health. You are one of twenty 'charts' and when you walk out if the doctors office, he goes on to next patient while you have to live with the wait. In feb of this year my doctor wanted to wait six months to see if my...

      more

      Ditto ditto ditto to the second opinion. You must be proactive with your health. You are one of twenty 'charts' and when you walk out if the doctors office, he goes on to next patient while you have to live with the wait. In feb of this year my doctor wanted to wait six months to see if my inflamed node resolved on its own because he thought it was nothing. I insisted on a closer look. Good for me that I grew some balls in my old age because the biopsy was positive and I finished chemo last week. Had I listened to my doc I would just be starting treatment for what may have been more advanced by waiting Six months. He admits he was wrong and said he has learned something about patients knowing their own bodies. Keep us posted.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Is 8 cm big?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Jennifer Jones Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Mine was 7cm. It shrunk to 5mm after chem.

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Yes but it is treatable. Mine was about the size of a hard baseball. It left me with a right beast that looked like 1/2 was bitten off but the cancer was gone.

      Comment
  • Nicole Rodgers Profile

    Are night sweats common after a bilateral mastectomy with lymph node removal?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Kathy M Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I got that too one of my nurses told me that the anesthesia can do crazy things like that. If you still have your drains in make sure to keep cool to prevent infection.

      Comment

Educational Video

Personal Story

Related Topics

Looking for another topic?
Use the search box in the top right.

Footer 2

Inspire hope by becoming an advocate for breast cancer prevention.

spread the word