Many investigators have expressed various opinions concerning the significance of a discharge from the nipple, but few have specifically considered the problem of carcinoma of the breast associated with discharge from the nipple in the absence of a palpable mass. Some earlier investigators reported that more than 50% of such breasts were malignant, but the weakness of their studies was the misinterpretation of the so-called papillary lesions. In the past many lesions which are now recognized to be papillomas were called "carcinomas."
Geschickter1 found cancer of the breast eventually developing in 9% of patients presenting themselves with discharge from the nipple. On the other hand, Bell2 had never seen a carcinoma of the breast associated with a discharge from the nipple in the absence of a palpable mass. The present study was undertaken to determine the incidence of cancer of the breast in patients whose only symptom and