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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

  • Cyndi Zimmerman Profile

    What is stage 2B breast cancer including lymph node ducts?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 7 years 3 answers
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2006

      Cyndi this site has an excellent explanation of the various stages under the learn category. If you still have questions regarding your stage your oncologist

      Comment
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2006

      Sorry I accidently hit the done key before finishing. But I was going to say ask your oncologist to explain in more details so that you are very clear on your stage.

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    A week after diagnosis now. My left shoulder/arm has been hurting for several weeks. Today I can barely lift it. Maybe its stress, or I slept funny, but I'm scared that it is related. My surgeon said that pain is not cancer, but could it be related ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    over 5 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Jo Norwood Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Stress and fear sure can tighten neck and shoulders until the pain is unbearable. You've taken the first step to health, now take a breath and do some relaxation/stretching exercise to help loosen those tortured muscles. Good luck. Keep posting. :)

      1 comment
    • Leslie Stoddard Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Ask if it could be frozen shoulder.

      1 comment
  • Maryann Ulloa Profile

    If your breast is really soft and you're only in your teens, is that a symptom of breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 1 answer
    • Ana Naluh Andrade Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      No. But if you have doubts, make an appointment with your doctor!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What are the lymph nodes?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 2 answers
    • Karrie Cameron Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      A lymph node is a small ball or an oval-shaped organ of the immune system, distributed widely throughout the body including the armpit and stomach/gut and linked by lymphatic vessels. Lymph nodes are garrisons of B, T, and other immune cells. Lymph nodes are found all through the body, and act as...

      more

      A lymph node is a small ball or an oval-shaped organ of the immune system, distributed widely throughout the body including the armpit and stomach/gut and linked by lymphatic vessels. Lymph nodes are garrisons of B, T, and other immune cells. Lymph nodes are found all through the body, and act as filters or traps for foreign particles. They are important in the proper functioning of the immune system. They are packed tightly with the white blood cells called lymphocytes and macrophages.
      Lymph nodes also have clinical significance. They become inflamed or enlarged in various conditions, which may range from trivial, such as a throat infection, to life-threatening such as cancers. In the latter, the condition of lymph nodes is so significant that it is used for cancer staging, which decides the treatment to be employed, and for determining the prognosis.
      Lymph nodes can also be diagnosed by biopsy whenever they are inflamed. Certain diseases affect lymph nodes with characteristic consistency and location. Function

      The lymph fluid inside of the lymph nodes contains lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, which are continuously recirculated through the lymph nodes and the bloodstream. Molecules found on bacteria cell walls or chemical substances secreted from bacteria, called antigens, may be taken up by professional antigen presenting cells such as dendritic cells into the lymph system and then into lymph nodes. In response to the antigens, the lymphocytes in the lymph node make an antibody which will go out of the lymph node into circulation, seek, and target the pathogen producing the antigen by targeting it for destruction by other cells and complement. Other immune system cells will be made to fight the infection and "sent" to the lymph nodes. The increased numbers of immune system cells fighting the infection will make the node expand and become "swollen.". Taken from Wikipedia. Hope this helps.

      Comment
    • Delicia matthews Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Lymph nodes are vessels that cancer travels through to get to other part of your body. They can be removed.

      Comment

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Breast cancer affects one out of every eight women in their lifetime.

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