Nipple Smears

Nipple discharge occurs in a variety of breast diseases, both benign and malignant. A smear of the discharge may help to determine if the underlying disease is benign or malignant.


  1. Clean the nipple with moist gauze to remove any coagulated fluid on the surface of the nipple.
  2. Massage the duct system in the retroareolar region of the affected breast until one or more drops of fluid appear on the surface of the nipple.
  3. Take a clean dry glass slide and collect the nipple discharge directly onto the slide by smoothly moving the slide along its long axis on the surface of the nipple.
  4. Fix the slide rapidly with alcohol.
  5. Label the slide with the partient’s name.
  6. Place the slide in a secure plastic or cardboard slide holder to avoid breakage.
  7. Complete the Calpath cytology requisition form per the instructions.

After collecting the specimen, please do the following:

  • Place the specimen in the Calpath specimen bag.
  • Place the requisition form in the side slot of the Calpath specimen bag.
  • Call Calpath for a pickup or place the Calpath specimen bag in the location where our courier usually picks up your daily specimens.