Nipple discharge is rarely a sign of breast cancer. But it might be a sign of an underlying condition that requires treatment.
If you're still having menstrual periods and your nipple discharge doesn't resolve on its own after your next menstrual cycle, make an appointment with your doctor to have it evaluated. However, if you've completed menopause and you're experiencing a spontaneous nipple discharge that involves one breast and a single duct, see your doctor right away for further evaluation.
In the meantime, take care to avoid nipple stimulation — including frequent checks for discharge — because stimulation actually makes the discharge continue.
Jan. 11, 2018
- Non-cancerous breast conditions. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/healthy/findcancerearly/womenshealth/non-cancerousbreastconditions/index. Accessed Oct. 20, 2016.
- Golshan M. Nipple discharge. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 20, 2016.
- Nipple discharge. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gynecology-and-obstetrics/breast-disorders/nipple-discharge. Accessed Oct. 20, 2016.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Gynecology. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 164: Diagnosis and Management of Benign Breast Disorders. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2016;127:e141.
- AskMayoExpert. Nipple discharge. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
- Galactorrhea. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/pituitary-disorders/galactorrhea#v980911. Accessed Oct. 25, 2016.
- Understanding breast changes: A health guide for women. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/understanding-breast-changes. Accessed Oct. 25, 2016.
- Paget disease of the breast. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/paget-breast-fact-sheet. Accessed Oct. 25, 2016.
- Dixon JM. Nonlactational mastitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 31, 2016.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 28, 2016.