The breast is a compound tubular gland whose function is only periodically called into activity. A few drops of milk, however, may occasionally be found present at birth and at puberty, and it is said that the application of a child to the breast quite independently of pregnancy may excite the secretion of milk. Accumulation of milk in an acinus whose secretory duct has become occluded or otherwise obstructed, gives rise to a cyst, or galactocele. The breast is further peculiarly susceptible to disease as a result of infection during the period of nursing, and is frequently the seat of hyperplasias or new-growths, benign and malignant. Hypertrophy of the mammary glands is a physiologic manifestation of pregnancy, continuing throughout the period of lactation. Adenoma, fibroma and carcinoma are common forms of new-growths in the breast.
In a communication presented at a recent meeting of the Boston Society for Medical Improvement,