Raman active nano-complex agents based on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are prepared and used for the swift and specific detection of breast cancer cells. SWCNTs are functionalized to bond covalently with the anti-epithelial cell adhesion molecule (anti-EpCAM) antibody, which is specific to the highly expressed EpCAM antigen on the surface of breast cancer cells (MCF-7), but not on normal cells. The Raman nano-complexes demonstrate excellent ability to detect in vitro single breast cancer cells (MCF-7) and discriminate between them and normal fibroblast cells during the first 30 min of the targeting process. Raman linearity scanning is collected from a monolayer cell mixture, including both cancer cells and normal cells incubated with anti-EpCAM-SWCNTs, using a 633-nm laser excitation. The results shows that the Raman signal collected from targeted MCF-7 cells is extremely high, whereas there is little signal from the normal cells.