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Not All Breast Cancer Diagnoses Are the Same (First in a Series)
Published on July 13, 2016.

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By Norma E. Roth

A common misunderstanding about breast cancer is that all breast cancer diagnoses are the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many types of breast cancer, as well as variants of the types. To understand the different types of breast cancer, we must first understand the anatomy of the female breast. It’s more than meets the eye!

Many women (and men) think that a breast is just a mushy mound of fat and tissue.The female breast is actually a complex organ; its primary function is to produce milk to nourish a baby. The female breast comprises special glandular and fatty tissues that extend from the collarbone to the armpit and across to the middle of the ribcage.

Female breast tissue is composed of lobules, lobes, and mammary ducts. In a healthy female breast, there are 15 to 20 sections, called lobes, located underneath the nipple and areola. A lobe contains tiny round sacs known as lobules. Lobules are the gland that produces breast milk in nursing women. Believe it or not, a breast contains up to a million lobules!

Lobules are connected to the mammary ducts, a network of intricate tubes that carry the breast milk to the nipple. The areola is the dark area around the nipple. The breast also contains lymph vessels. These vessels drain into a network of lymph nodes that are located in the outer perimeter of the breast, in the armpit and also near the collarbone.

Breast cancer can develop in a lobule, duct, and even in the nipple. When breast cancer spreads, it usually goes to the underarm lymph nodes first.

Regular screening with mammography, especially 3D mammography, is the most effective tool for early detection of breast cancer. Never skip your annual screening. For your convenience, our nine Women’s Imaging Centers offer early morning, late evening, and weekend appointments. Early detection is truly your best protection. Check our site at http://www.sjra.com/locations for hours and locations near your home or office. Then simply click on the 24/7 Badge located at the top of our site to book your appointment instantly online!


SJRA Blogger Norma Roth

About Norma E. Roth

Norma E. Roth, a breast cancer survivor, is a freelance journalist for health wellness and sustainable living. She is an advocate for annual mammography screening, believing early detection is the key to cancer survival. You can learn more about her at www.normaeroth.com.


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