As you can see, a Breast is a fairly simplistic organ. A breast is made up of approximately 15-20 sections, called Lobes. Inside each of the lobes are lobules.
It is within these lobules where milk is produced. These ‘milk machines’ are connected to a drainage system via ducts. All ducts travel to the nipple, where milk is then excreted. This entire unit containing the duct and lobule is called the terminal duct lobular unit or the TDLU.
Other structures that make up the breast are blood vessels, ligaments and connective tissue. Behind the breast lies the pectoralis muscle and the ribs.
Lymph nodes are also contained in the breast. Their purpose is to act as the drainage system by draining a fluid, called Lymph, outside of the breast into the body’s primary lymph system. Lymph nodes resemble the shape and size of a bean.
Breast cancer may spread to the lymph system via the sentinal node in the breast. Testing for the sentinal node during surgery answers the question, “Has my cancer spread?”.
A breast’s function and development are dependent on the hormones Estrogen and Progesterone. Estrogen serves as the ‘duct hormone’ as it aids to the actual development of the ducts and their branches. Progesterone is the ‘lobule hormone’ as it increases the size and number of the lobules.
So what goes wrong?
So what is breast cancer? Just like any other type of cancer, breast cancer is initiated by an abnormal changing of the DNA. DNA is found in all living organisms and serves as carrier of genetic information.
When abnormal changes occur in the DNA, normal breast cells can mutate into cancerous cells. As changes occur cells begin to grow more rapidly than normal cells, creating a tumor or mass. This mass can then metastasize and spread to the local lymph nodes and eventually into other organs throughout the body.
What is Breast Cancer? An often Silent Disease
Often times, women feel that if they have breast cancer they would have some sort of symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.
However, this theory is very incorrect! Breast cancer can mere within the breast for many weeks, months or years without causing any symptoms. By having a yearly screening mammogram breast cancer can be caught at its earliest possible stage.
So now that you know “What breast cancer is…”
Now that you know “What breast cancer is” there are still so many questions you are probably asking yourself. Questions like:
- Who gets it?
- How is breast cancer detected?
Click here to learn more about diagnosing breast cancer.
- Is breast cancer prevention possible?
Click here to learn more about breast cancer prevention options
- Am I at high risk for breast cancer?
Click here to learn more about breast cancer risk factors
- What are the the latest treatment options for breast cancer?
Click here to learn about treating breast cancer options
My-Breast-Cancer-Guide.com is here to help you answer all of these questions plus MUCH MORE! Keep on reading to learn more.
For more information about Breast Cancer and other types of cancer visit the Cancer Information Source, a guide to cancer, providing an in-depth introduction that is understandable even if you do not have a background in science or medicine.