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Breast Cancer - Medical Animation

 

This animation may only be used in support of a single legal proceeding and for no other purpose. Read our License Agreement for details. To license this image for other purposes, click here.

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Breast Cancer - Medical Animation
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: The mammary glands lie inside the breast over the pectoralis major muscle, surrounded by adipose and connective tissue. The mammary gland is composed of groups of lobules that form lobes, which drain through lactiferous ducts to the nipple. Epithelial cells line the lactiferous ducts and lobules. Each lobule is composed of several small sacs called acini. During pregnancy, specialized secretory cells develop in the acini, and after birth, secrete milk. Lymph nodes and vessels surround the breast radially and drain to axillary lymphatics. Like all cancers, breast cancer begins with cell DNA damage. Most breast cancers form in duct epithelial cells. The more these cells grow, the greater chance for DNA damage to occur. A cell with damaged DNA exhibits uncontrolled growth. This mass of cells is a developing breast cancer tumor. The stimulus for breast tissue growth is estrogen produced by the ovaries during a woman's reproductive years. Therefore, the longer the time between puberty and menopause, the greater the chance for developing breast cancer. Some breast cancers come from inherited DNA changes or mutations. For example, the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 normally keep cancer cells from forming by repairing or destroying cells with damaged DNA. Mutations to these genes allow damaged cells to live and continue proliferating, resulting in the formation of cancerous tumors. As tumors invade the surrounding tissue, cells may break off into a lymphatic vessel. Displaced tumor cells travel through the lymphatics and become metastatic tumors elsewhere. Other risk factors for breast cancer include hormone use or exposure and composition of breast tissue. While rare, it is important to note that men can also get breast cancer. Primary treatment for breast cancer depends on the size of the tumor, lymph node involvement, and metastasis. Generally, breast-conserving lumpectomy procedures remove single tumors less than five centimeters with no invasion of the chest wall. For larger tumors or multiple tumors with no chest wall invasion, the usual treatment is modified radical mastectomy. In this procedure, all of the breast tissue, including breast and axillary lymph nodes are removed. With larger tumors and chest wall invasion, a radical mastectomy removes the entire breast, lymphatics, and chest wall muscles. Radiation therapy reduces the risk of cancer cells recurring postoperatively. Chemotherapy uses a combination of drugs to destroy cancer cells. ♪ [music] ♪

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Dunaway and Associates
Anderson, SC

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