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see mammary glandmammary gland,
organ of the female mammal that produces and secretes milk for the nourishment of the young. A mammal may have from 1 to 11 pairs of mammary glands, depending on the species. Generally, those mammals that bear larger litters have more glands.
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The human mammary gland, usually well developed in the adult female but rudimentary in the male. Each adult female breast contains 15–20 separate, branching glands that radiate from the nipple. During lactation their secretions are discharged through separate openings at the base of the nipple.

In the female, hormonal changes in adolescence cause enlargement of breast tissue, but much of this is connective tissue although some glandular buds form. With the advent of full menstruation ovarian estrogenic hormones influence breast development. If pregnancy ensues, the glandular tissue reaches full development and full lactation begins shortly after birth. After cessation of lactation the breasts regress considerably and once again reflect cyclic regulation. See Lactation

Breast disorders may result from congenital or developmental abnormalities, inflammations, hormonal imbalances, and, most important, from tumor formation.

Congenital defects are usually unimportant except for their psychic or cosmetic implications. Supernumerary nipples and breasts or accessory breast tissue are common examples.

Inflammations are not encountered frequently and usually result from a staphylococcal or streptococcal invasion incurred during lactation. A special form of inflammation may result from fat necrosis. Although any age is susceptible, older women show a slightly higher incidence of fat necrosis, the commonest cause of which is injury from trauma. See Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Syphilis, Tuberculosis

Hormonal imbalances are believed to be responsible for the variants of the commonest nontumorous breast disorder of women, cystic hyperplasia. The changes are thought to result from exaggeration or distortion of the normal cyclic alterations induced during the menstrual interval. Although a wide range of clinical and pathologic variation is commonplace, three major types or tendencies prevail. The first, called fibrosis or mastodynia, is marked by an increase of connective tissue in the breast, without a proportionate increase in glandular epithelium. The second, cystic disease, is characterized by an increase in the glandular and connective tissues in local areas, with a tendency toward formation of cysts varying in size. The third major type is adenosis, in which glandular hyperplasia is predominant. Each major form of cystic hyperplasia has its own clinical characteristics, ages of highest incidence, and distribution. Each is important because the breast masses which occur require differentiation from benign and malignant tumors. These lesions also have been found to predispose to the subsequent development of carcinoma.

Breast cancer is the most significant lesion of the female breast, accounting for 25,000–30,000 deaths in the United States each year. It rarely occurs before the age of 25, but its incidence increases each year thereafter, with a sharper climb noted about the time of menopause. Early breast cancer may appear as a small, firm mass which is nontender and freely movable. Diagnosis at this time carries a more favorable prognosis than later, when immobility, nipple retraction, lymph node involvement, and other signs of extension or spread are noted. Paget's disease of the nipple is a special form of breast cancer, in which there are early skin changes about the nipple. See Hormone


That portion of a wall between the floor and a window above; a defensive wall built about breast high.


The human mammary gland.
(mining engineering)
In coal mines, a chamber driven in the seam from the gangway, for the extraction of coal.


1. A projecting part of a wall, as at a chimney.
2. That portion of a wall between the floor and a window above.
3. The underside of a handrail, beam, rafter, or the like.


symbol of nourishment and fecundity. [Ren. Art: Hall, 52]


1. the front part of the body from the neck to the abdomen; chest
2. either of the two soft fleshy milk-secreting glands on the chest in sexually mature human females
3. a similar organ in certain other mammals
4. a projection from the side of a wall, esp that formed by a chimney


Dreaming about breasts can have obvious sexual meaning. However, consider all of the details in your dream in order to obtain the most appropriate meaning. Breasts also represent tenderness, love, and other matters of the heart. Breastfeeding is symbolic of giving or receiving, nurturing, and sustenance. It represents motherly love as well as physical and emotional support and well being. Old dream interpretation books say that breastfeeding is a symbol of great things to come following an extended period of hard work.
References in periodicals archive ?
Alison Baum, chief executive of the charity Best Beginnings, which aims to give babies the healthiest possible start in life, explains breastfeeding has many health benets for both mothers and babies, including less gut and respiratory infections and reduced hospital admissions in breastfed babies.
This article has been reviewed by former lactation consultant and current Plunket nurse Anne Norton, president of the New Zealand Multiple Birth Association Carolyn Lister, both of whom breastfed their twins, and Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand co-editors.
28] In Iran, a recent study reported that 82% of infants were exclusively breastfed during the first month of life, but this statistic decreased to 44% and 2% at the ages of 4 and 6 months, respectively.
Recent data show that 99% of Norwegian infants receive breast milk at some point, with 46% exclusively breastfed at four months and 46% are still having some breast milk at 12 months.
women with similar incomes and educational levels), and then compared the outcomes of their children; in other words, we constructed the best apples-to-apples comparison between breastfed and non-breastfed children.
The findings in this report indicate that from 2000 to 2008, significant increases occurred in the percentages of black and white infants who had ever breastfed, and in the percentages breastfeeding at 6 and 12 months among black, white, and Hispanic infants.
One study showed that when comparing infants born in a BFHI accredited unit with those born in a unit without BFHI status, after adjustment for social, demographic and obstetric factors, they were not more likely to be breastfed at one month.
I breastfed all my children, but could have done with more advice at times.
Most health experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, and that breastfeeding continues along with supplementary foods for the remainder of the first year.
There are recommendations that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life, yet sadly virtually no babies in the UK are exclusively breastfed for that time," she said.
The estimated proportion of infants HIV-infected by 3 months was significantly lower in those exclusively breastfed up to 3 months than in those who received mixed feeding before 3 months.