The mammary gland, development and cancer

in StemSocial7 months ago


Mammary glands, which are what make milk for babies who are being breastfed, are only found in the breasts of women. Mamma is the Latin word for breast, so it makes perfect sense that humans and a wide variety of other animal species belong to the class of animals known as mammals.

When you start to investigate where the word "mom" came from, you'll find that it's derived, in almost all cases, from the Latin word mother. This is true in both English and almost every other language. We are going to defer to the linguists' judgment for the time being. This article will concentrate on the overall anatomy of the female breast.

Breast development

In the fourth week of a fetus's existence, the beginning stages of breast tissue development can be seen. Breast tissue develops in the fetus along two "milk lines" that begin at the underarm and stretch down to the groin. These "milk lines" originate at the armpit. Along this path, it is not very common for a second breast, also called an auxiliary breast, to grow. Along this line, a supernumerary nipple, also referred to as an additional nipple, may develop on the surface of the epidermis.

As the channels grow, they are eventually surrounded by fatty tissue and connective tissue. These two types of tissue give the breast its shape and overall structure. During this time, the lobes and lobules of the mammary gland start to form. These parts are responsible for making milk while the mother is breastfeeding.

Breast development generally continues until the ages of 18–19, but it can continue into the early twenties in some women. It is possible for there to be a significant amount of variation in the size and contour of an individual's breasts due to variables such as genetics, hormonal changes, and overall body weight.

A woman's breast tissue can change throughout her life, but the biggest changes happen when she has children and when she goes through menopause. Because of the changes in hormones that happen during these times, the size and shape of the breasts can change. These shifts can cause the breast tissue to expand and constrict, resulting in these alterations.

The Breast: Its Structure and Functions in Morphology and Physiology

Lobules and ducts of the breast. 2019, October 4. Wikimedia Commons

The construction of the breast, which is an organ, is a direct reflection of its primary function, which is the generation of milk for lactation (breastfeeding). The part of the tissue called epithelium is made up of lobules, which are where milk is made. These lobules are connected to channels, that extend from the tissue to the nipple. Most breast cancers start in the cells that help make the lobules and tubes at the end of the breast. These lobules and channels can be found dispersed throughout the background connective tissue and adipose tissue (fat), which together make up the majority of the breast. The structure of a man's breast is almost identical to the structure of a woman's breast, with the exception that the male breast tissue does not contain the specialized lobules that are found in the female breast tissue. This is because there is no physiological need for men to produce milk.

Anatomically speaking, the mature breast rests on top of the pectoralis muscle, also known as the "pec" chest muscle. The pectoralis muscle, in turn, rests on top of the sternum. The breast tissue stretches in a horizontal (side-to-side) direction from the edge of the sternum (the broad, flat bone in the centre of the chest) out to the midaxillary line (the centre of the axilla, or underarm). The axillary tail of the Spence is an extension of breast tissue that can be found extending into the region of the underarm. This is significant because breast cancer can develop in the axillary tail, even though it might not appear to be situated within the actual breast at first glance.

A thin coating of connective tissue known as fascia wraps around the breast tissue and surrounds it. This fascia is composed of two layers: the deep layer rests directly on top of the pectoralis major muscle, and the superficial layer rests just below the surface of the epidermis. The skin that covers the breasts is very similar to the skin that covers the rest of the body. This means that the perspiration glands, hair follicles, and other characteristics are all very similar. When doing a breast exam, a doctor will look at both the breast tissue and the skin on the outside of the breast.

The Source of Nerves

The breast gets its sensory and motor information from the anterior and lateral cutaneous branches of the fourth to sixth intercostal nerves. These neurons comprise nerve fibres that are responsible for both sensation and autonomic function (the autonomic fibers regulate smooth muscle and blood vessel tone).

It is important to keep in mind that these nerves have no influence over the generation or secretion of milk. The pituitary gland is responsible for the production of the chemicals prolactin and oxytocin, which are responsible for regulating this process.

Lymphatic Drainage and Blood Vessels

The internal mammary artery, which can be found running underneath the primary breast tissue, is the primary source of the blood supply that originates from the breast. The breast tissue receives nutrition and oxygen from the blood supply, which flows through it. Lymph moves through the breast in the opposite direction that blood does and drains into lymph nodes. Lymphatic arteries empty into lymph nodes. Because of these lymphatic arteries, breast cancer can spread to other lymph glands. This is called metastasis. Most lymphatic vessels go to the axillary lymph nodes, which are located under the arm. Fewer lymphatic vessels go to the internal mammary lymph nodes, which are deep in the breast. It's important to know about this lymphatic discharge because when breast cancer spreads, it usually starts in the lymph node, which is the first in a chain of lymph nodes. This lymph node is referred to as the "sentinel lymph node," and a patient who has breast cancer may have this lymph node removed by a physician so that they can check for the presence of metastases.

Because of the changes in hormone levels that happen during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the breast tissue goes through many more changes.

Examining for possible signs of breast cancer

Breastfeeding - Massage Breast.png - 2016, February 29. Wikimedia Commons

When cells in the breast grow quickly and out of control, this can lead to the development of breast cancer. It's possible that mutations or variations in the genes that regulate the development of breast cells are to blame for this. Breast cancer can travel to other parts of the body via the circulation or the lymph system.

The American Cancer Society has found that breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women. Lung cancer is the most common cause of death from cancer in women. Men have about a 1 in 833 chance of getting breast cancer in their lifetime.

Early detection of breast cancer is essential to improving the prognosis for patients undergoing treatment for the disease. One way for people to increase their chances of finding breast cancer in its early stages is to check their breasts regularly.

Both men and women are capable of performing a self-exam to evaluate their breast health.
A person should begin by looking at their breasts in the mirror while keeping their shoulders back and placing their arms on their hips. They need to make sure that their breasts are the same size, shape, and colour as normal, and that both of their breasts are formed the same way.

People need to watch for developments such as:
epidermis that has dimpling, puckering or swelling as a result of gravity,
alterations in the location of the breast, or if the nipple is turned inward rather than sticking out. redness, an outbreak, swelling, and soreness.

After that, the individual should raise both limbs while continuing to watch for the same changes. In addition to that, they need to examine both nipples to see if either one or both of them secrete any juice.

After that, the individual should get down on their hands and knees and feel their breasts with their palms. It is recommended that a person use their left hand to inspect their right breast and their right hand to scrutinize their left breast.

They should start at the nipple and move outward in a circle, making sure to reach the collarbone, upper midsection, and underarm area. The breast exam should start at the nipple and end at the underarm region. Someone has to put enough firm pressure on the surface to feel any bumps.

In the final act, the individual should perform the previous step while standing up.
If a person has discharge from the nipple, finds a lump, or notices any changes in their breasts, they should see their primary care doctor right away. A qualified doctor or nurse will be able to look at you and order tests to make sure that you get the right diagnosis.

In summary, the top body's pectoral region contains the breasts, which are glandular structures. They are made up of specific organs like lobules and ducts that help females produce milk but are typically inactive in men.

Both men and women can develop breast cancer. People must therefore conduct routine self-examinations to check for breast cancer. This entails checking the breast both visibly and physically in a circle manner for lumps or skin changes. Early diagnosis could lead to more effective breast cancer treatment.


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