Breast CancerAnatomy & Function

Family history is an important factor in breast cancer. Having relatives (first line), with a history of cancer doubles the risk of this cancer. Science proved the presence of mutated genes associated with it and their relation to an increased risk of occurrence. A gene known as BRCA1 (breast cancer 1 – Chromosome 17) is a tumor suppressor and acts as a repair pathway in the DNA. Its role is to restrain or stop the growth of cells in the breast. When Mutation exists, in BRCA1, it increases the risk of breast cancer occurrence by 55-65%. The second genes are BRCA2 (chromosome 13). Type increases the risk of breast cancer by 45%. You have to keep in mind that not all women who have those mutated genes are affected by cancer. Yet, they are at higher risk of getting cancer.

Breasts are made up of milk-producing glands consists of several lobe. Each breast s separated by walls called septa. Each lobe is divided into several lobules where milk-secreting cells are embedded in pouches. These pouches are called alveoli and are arranged in grapelike clusters around tiny ductules. Those pipe-like structures unite to form a single duct for each lobe or 15 to 20 in each breast. The formed ducts are called lactiferous duct – This term means milk carrying. These lactiferous ducts converge toward the nipple (like the spokes of a wheel).

breast-cancer-anatomy

Breast anatomy

A large amount of fat is deposited around the surface of the glands around the lobes and just beneath the skin. The size of the breast is determined by the fat tissue surrounding the glands and the later has nothing to do with the ability to produce milk. The hormones estrogens and progesterone control breasts’ development during puberty. Estrogens stimulate the ducts’ growth of the milk-producing glands (mammary glands), whereas progesterone stimulates the development of milk-secreting glands.