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At the tip of each breast is an area called the areola, usually reddish in color; at the center of this area is the nipple. About 20 separate lactiferous ducts empty into a depression at the top of the nipple. Each duct leads from alveoli within the breast called lobules, where the milk is secreted. Along their length, the ducts have widened areas that form reservoirs in which milk can be stored. The ducts and lobules form the glandular tissue of the breasts. Connective tissue covers the glandular tissue and is itself sheathed in a layer of fatty tissue. The fatty tissue gives the breast its smooth outline and contributes to its size and firmness.
As with other forms of cancer, early detection and prompt treatment of malignancy of the breast are the keys to eradication of the disease. Studies have shown that breast self-examination has contributed to earlier detection and improved survival rates. It should be done monthly; more than 90 percent of breast cancers are discovered by the patients themselves either by chance or by routine self-examination. The American Cancer Society reports that only about 69 percent of women polled in the past had done self-examination at any time during the past year and less than 29 percent did it routinely each month.
Screening should begin by age 40 and should consist of a clinical examination every year and screening mammography every one or two years. Beginning at age 50, both the clinical examination and the mammography should be done once a year. mammography is considered to be the best diagnostic method for early detection when tumors are small and not readily found by palpation. Other diagnostic techniques include thermography, ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, and computerized tomography, but none of these is believed to be as accurate as mammography. The first symptom noted is usually a lump or nodule in the breast tissue; however, dimpling of the breast skin or changes in the nipple may be noted before a lump is found. Diagnosis of a malignant tumor is confirmed by biopsy.
Additional information can be obtained by calling the National Cancer Institute's Cancer Information Service Hotline at 1-800-4-CANCER.
Synonym(s): mamma [TA] , teat (2) .
During puberty, estrogens from the ovary stimulate growth and development of the duct system. During pregnancy, progesterone secreted by the corpus luteum and placenta acts synergistically with estrogens to bring the alveoli to complete development. After parturition, prolactin in conjunction with adrenal steroids initiates lactation, and oxytocin from the posterior pituitary induces ejection of milk. Sucking or milking reflexly stimulates both milk secretion and discharge of milk.
Changes in Pregnancy
During the first 6 to 12 weeks, there is fullness and tenderness, erectile tissue develops in the nipples, nodules are felt, pigment is deposited around the nipple (primary areola) (in blondes the areolae and nipples become darker pink; in brunettes they become dark brown and sometimes even black), and a few drops of fluid may be squeezed out. During the next 16 to 20 weeks, the secondary areola shows small whitish spots in pigmentation due to hypertrophy of the sebaceous glands (glands of Montgomery).
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Patient discussion about breast
Q. how to avoid breast cancer? i heard that wearing bras when sleeping causes breast cancer and i've been doing this for the past 2 years and now i'm so scared
Q. Is there any possibility for me to have breast cancer? I am having a lot of pain in my right breast, close to chest and underarm. I’m 24 year old female. I have large breasts, but I do not feel any lumps. Is there any possibility for me to have breast cancer? Thank you very much.
but just for the chance that it is and even if it's not cancer but something else- go get checked.
Q. what is inflamatory breast cancer?
You can read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflammatory_breast_cancer