We believe that a well-informed patient is our best partner in our goal to improve human health. Therefore, we encourage you to look at the information contained in these pages as well as information that you can link to online.
We have many books, booklets, pamphlets, and information sheets in the office that we provide free of charge to all of our patients. They deal with benign and malignant breast problems, diagnostic procedures, surgical treatments, outcomes, exercise, lymphedema, and breast cancer support groups and organizations, among other topics. Many are available in Spanish. Please ask if there are any that you would like to have. Also, let us know if there are some that you think we should have and we will do our best to get them.
The breast is composed of milk producing tissue that is contained in units called lobules, tubes called ducts that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple, fibrous supporting tissue, blood vessels, lymphatic channels, nerves and fat. The ducts drain out of the breast through multiple openings in the nipple.
The skin overlying the breast has sebaceous (oil producing) glands that have many tiny openings onto the skin. In addition, the skin has hair follicles and sweat glands. The darker round skin at the center of the breast is called the areola and contains the nipple. It also has oil and sweat glands.
Occasionally, additional breast tissue may be found in the area under the arms (axilla). This condition is called polymastia. This accessory breast tissue may develop the same benign and malignant conditions as the rest of the breast tissue. It may enlarge, especially during pregnancy, and may be removed to alleviate symptoms or examine a suspicious area.
Extra nipples also occur and may be found in a line extending from the underarm to the groin (inguinal) areas. This condition is called polythelia. Usually, accessory nipples look like slightly raised, dark moles. They are not usually removed unless causing a problem.