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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

  • 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
    about 4 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    I posted a few days ago about my sentinel node and lumpectomy. I had the surgery yesterday which took four hours instead of one and a half. The doctor found lymph node involvement. How does this affect my chance of survival?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    over 7 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      The same thing happened to me. I don't ponder my chance of survival because NO ONE can predict your life span. My surgery was 5 years ago, I am still alive, obviously, and try not worry. I leave the worrying up to my team of doctors. My job is to live the life I have to the fullest.... which...

      more

      The same thing happened to me. I don't ponder my chance of survival because NO ONE can predict your life span. My surgery was 5 years ago, I am still alive, obviously, and try not worry. I leave the worrying up to my team of doctors. My job is to live the life I have to the fullest.... which I am doing. Doctor's talk in percentages because that is how they set out your treatment plan. My doctor said even though I had a lymph node that was positive, it did not change my treatment plan at all. I went from a 2A to a 2B. Worrying about your demise is a destructive behavior. Focus on getting through your treatment, in the most positive way you can. Worrying, is not going to change anything anyway, it will just make you miserable. Again.... only God knows how long we have here.... there are plenty of women who have long outlived a "statistic". We are not numbers.... we are living, breathing, wonderful women! Positive thinking and affirming statements are what you need... not predictions of the end of your life. Hang in there, you will make it.
      Take care, Sharon

      2 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi, Please don't begin to worry about survival rates. You've begun the journey to good health and life. There will be soooo many factors to consider in the coming days that will determine your special plan and your doctors will guide you through each level of that treatment. Make a list of every...

      more

      Hi, Please don't begin to worry about survival rates. You've begun the journey to good health and life. There will be soooo many factors to consider in the coming days that will determine your special plan and your doctors will guide you through each level of that treatment. Make a list of every question-small, large, odd, and profound-they are eager to answer them and will be much more open if they see you're a patient hungry for info. You will be the most valuable partner in this quest to a rich and long life. Breathe and lean on those around you and be amazed at the strength that will carry you through ONE DAY AT A TIME. Hugs and waiting for you on the path to healing. :-D Jo

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default
  • Thumb avatar default

    What are the lymph nodes?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 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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