Feminity in difficult times

The breast is considered to be an essential symbol of feminity and female self-esteem. Being the largest glandular organ in the human body, it is able to produce breast milk, an essential nutrient for the survival of newborns. If no pregnancy occurs, the hormone-sensitive tissue is subjected to cyclical remodelling processes along the menstrual cycle throughout the fertile years.


The breast lies directly over the breast muscle (also called »musculus pectoralis«), and is located beneath subcutaneous fatty tissue. It is composed of approximately 20 milk glands (also named »Lobuli«), which are themselves made up of numerous glandular lobes. It is the lobular cells which, under the influence of female sex hormones, produce breast milk during the last months of pregnancy and during the lactational phase. The lobuli lead into larger milk ducts (also termed »Ducti«), which transport the milk to the breast nipple. Large cavernous structures (called »Sinus«) are located just beneath the breast nipple, and act as milk reservoirs and pump stations during the sucking process.

 

The glandular system is embedded in connective and fatty tissue, which defines form and stability of the breast. Breast tissue receives oxygen and nutrients through a fine network of blood vessels which extend from the chest bone to the axillary region. Numerous lymph vessels ensure the removal of pathogens, degraded cells, and sometimes even whole tumor cells towards clearance in adjacent lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are pea-sized structures which act as filter stations, and which can also destroy unwanted and potentially hazardous materials. The most important lymph node stations in the breast are located in the axillary region, around the clavicle and behind the chest bone. In healthy people, these lymph nodes are usually not palpable. They can, however, be enlarged and thus palpable in response to inflammatory or malignant processes in the breast.

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