The Breast


The female breast is a reproductive organ designed to produce nutrients (food) for an infant’s growth, development and immune systems needs.

Each breast has 15 to 20 sections, called lobes.  Each lobe has many smaller lobules, which end in dozens of tiny bulbs that can produce milk.  The lobes, lobules, and bulbs are all linked by thin tubes called ducts. These ducts lead to the nipple in the center of a dark area of skin called the areola.  Adipose tissue (fat) fills the spaces between lobules and ducts.  There are no muscles in the breast, but muscles lie under each breast and cover the ribs.  Each breast also contains blood vessels and vessels that carry lymph.   The lymph vessels lead to small bean-shaped organs called lymph nodes, clusters of which are found under the arm, above the collarbone, and in the chest, and in many other parts of the body.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women.  Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer may help save your life. When the disease is discovered early, you have more treatment options and a better chance for a cure.  Most breast lumps aren’t cancerous. Yet the most common sign of breast cancer for both men and women is a lump or thickening in the breast.

Warning Signs of Breast Cancer


A change in the look or feel of the breast, such as a change in the size or shape of the breast. A lump or thickening in the breast, the area surrounding the breast or the underarm. A warm sensation in the breast.  A change in the look or feel of the nipple, a nipple turned inward or sunken into the breast. The shape of the nipple becomes irregular.  A rash on the nipple or areola. Nipple tenderness, increased sensitivity or pain.  Nipple discharge or blood or fluid other than breast milk secreted from the nipple.  A change in the look or feel of the skin on the breast, nipple or areola.  Dimpling of the skin on the breast (appears like the skin on an orange).  The appearance of irritated, red, scaly, or swollen skin on the breast, nipple, or areola. Breast pain.  Although breast pain is usually associated with benign breast conditions rather than breast cancer, it can be a symptom of either condition.  If you experience any of these sign contact your health care provider.  Mammograms are recommended for women over the age of 40.  Some women and men are at higher risk for breast cancer.  Learn more about risk factors and prevention or if you are eligible for services at  or   The Komen site provides a video on self breast exam.  October was breast cancer awareness month, this November let us give thanks that we live in time where technology and early detection can save lives.

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