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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

  • Jamie Baldwin Profile

    I havent found a lump but have pain in my left breast, what could it be?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 1 answer
    • Gail Horton Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Have it checked out! I could nit feel a lump, and neither could my doctors, but they found a 1cm mass on a mammogram. It saved my life! Do not wait until you can feel it!

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    I went to the OB several years ago about a swollen/ sore area under my arm near the breast. She told me it was a gland. It has now come back and has not gone away for over 2 months. My new OB says it has a strange feel to it. Should I worry?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Worry enough to get it checked out with a biopsy. Lots of these things turn out to be nothing but I would push for further testing. Please get back to your doctor and insist on a biopsy or whatever it would take to see what this swelling is for sure. In the long run, it will give you peace of...

      more

      Worry enough to get it checked out with a biopsy. Lots of these things turn out to be nothing but I would push for further testing. Please get back to your doctor and insist on a biopsy or whatever it would take to see what this swelling is for sure. In the long run, it will give you peace of mind. Right now, I am sure you are already worried about this.
      Please let us know what you find out. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had lymph nodes under my arm that felt like swollen glands (like bean sized) that tested positive. However, once they were palpable it was only a few months before they tested positive. I do not believe that if your swollen area went away for a few years that it would be cancerous, but it...

      more

      I had lymph nodes under my arm that felt like swollen glands (like bean sized) that tested positive. However, once they were palpable it was only a few months before they tested positive. I do not believe that if your swollen area went away for a few years that it would be cancerous, but it definitely would ease your mind to have an ultrasound. Good luck!

      Comment
  • Elizabeth Daniel Profile

    Can you get breast cancer from people hitting your breasts?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      No. There are many factors that can contribute to cancer, but generally speaking, hitting is not one of those factors. However, if it's so extreme that there is scar tissue and major damage done, you should consult a physician.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    If it was really bad do you think my team would tell me? I'm waiting to get information on my cancer stage as I'm having chemo first. I do know that the grade is 2 and I have at least 1 node affected, a mixed dx in the same breast. My CT scan is clear.

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 8 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Now I understand why your team is putting off the staging until after your preliminary treatment as they are expecting the tumor to shrink. It makes perfect sense. Hang in there and hopefully that tumor will get a whole lot smaller. Please keep in touch with us. Big hugs and take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      There are actually different circumstances where oncologists would recommend chemo 1st. Many, many, reasons that don't paint a bleak picture in the least. As for hiding something from you.... I do not think they do that. When I was having my biopsy, the doctor told me to "expect this to come...

      more

      There are actually different circumstances where oncologists would recommend chemo 1st. Many, many, reasons that don't paint a bleak picture in the least. As for hiding something from you.... I do not think they do that. When I was having my biopsy, the doctor told me to "expect this to come back as breast cancer..." There was nothing "warm and fuzzy" about her statement.
      The next time you have an appointment with him/her, take a friend, or relative with you. They can be your scribe and take notes. Your job is to ask questions and get answers. I really believe lack of information is the most terrifying thing about having breast cancer. I remember when I heard all of the facts, including the pathology report, I finally knew all the answers to all my questions. I knew how we were going to proceed and the treatment plan was in full view. There was something much more reassuring and almost comfortable in finally having that knowledge. Please stay in touch with us here. We have all been where you are and really want to support our sisters in this journey. You will be ok... it is just one foot in front of the other and one appointment at a time.
      Take care, Sharon

      Comment

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