AH2 – Breast anatomy and types of cancer

The female breast undergoes changes in size, shape and function during the different developmental stage of the women (puberty, pregnancy, lactation, etc.). However, the breast structures comprise three main structures that are the skin, subcutaneous tissue and the breast tissue itself. The latter is composed mainly by adipose tissue (i.e. fat cells) and a structure of lobes, lobules and milk ducts. The lobes contain small lobules which shape the gland producing the milk in nursing women. Both lobes and lobules are connected to the milk ducts which carry the milk to the nipple. Apart from those tissues, in the breast area there are also a network of ligaments, fibrous connective tissue, nerves, lymphatic system and blood vessels.

Generally, the type of breast cancer is related to the origin of the growth of cancer cells and the most common ones are the:

  • Ductal carcinoma in situ: non-invasive breast cancer where cancer cells are contained in the breast milk duct.
  • Invasive ductal carcinoma: cells originated in the milk duct have spread to surrounding tissue.
  • Invasive lobular carcinoma: cells originated in the lobules have spread to surrounding tissue.

Most of them are carcinomas, meaning that the tumour started in the epithelial cells, those cells that line organs and tissues throughout the body. Most breast cancer are adenocarcinoma because the tumour starts at the ducts or the lobules (glandular tissue).

No matter which is the origin of the cancer, when facing an invasive one, HypoSens would facilitate the detection of cancer cells in the lymphatic system and contribute to a better prognosis and treatment selection for the patient.