Trace elements are accepted to be involved directly or indirectly in the process of cancer formation. In this study, serum selenium, copper and zinc were measured in three groups of patients using atomic absorption spectrometer. A total of 29 Nigerian women were included: group I consisted of nine age-matched healthy controls without breast problems; group 2 included nine women with benign breast disease; and group 3 was comprised of women with breast cancer. The serum concentration of copper (Cu) was significantly higher in patients with cancer when compared to the control group (1.43 +/- 0.31 microg/ml vs 0.91 +/- 0.18 microg/ul/0.94 +/- 0.10 microg/ml). The zinc (Zn) concentration was significantly lower in the breast cancer group than in the other two groups (0.74 +/- 0.21 microg/ml vs 1.14 +/- 0.31 ug/ml/1.11 +/- 0.29 microg/ml; p < 0.05). The study shows alteration in the concentration of copper and zinc in serum of patients with breast cancer, which may indicate abnormal copper and zinc metabolism in Nigerian females with breast cancer.