Almost 54,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in the UK during 2013, according to Cancer Research UK figures.
In 2014, 11,400 people died from the disease.
Now scientists are hoping more lives could be saved following a medical breakthrough.
Scientists part-funded by Breast Cancer Now, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and other collaborators have developed an innovative imaging technique that could predict whether breast cancer will spread to the lung.
In a new study published in Theranostics, researchers have demonstrated in mice that a new non-invasive imaging method can be used to detect changes in the lungs that signal breast cancer may soon spread there – before any metastases are visible.
If given the green-light for use in humans, this approach could enable patients to be offered more intensive therapy earlier, to potentially prevent breast cancer spread.
Dr Fabian Flores-Borja, Research Fellow at the Breast Cancer Now Research Unit at King’s College London said: “By combining cell biology and imaging techniques, we have established a method to predict, at an early time-point during tumour development, whether tumour invasion will occur.
“We envision this technique being used to help select patients for either further surveillance or intensified therapy, as well as aiding cancer research.
“The development of a test that is able to identify an increased risk of metastasis soon after a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer, would be very useful in helping choose…