A blood test can detect whether breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body, scientists have confirmed.

During the research, which was conducted by scientists from the University of Westminster, 112 blood samples of breast cancer patients were analysed. The blood test successfully identified different levels of the protein, cadherin-5 in women suffering from secondary breast cancer and those who were free of the disease following a previous breast cancer diagnosis.

Secondary breast cancer is cancer that has spread to other body parts. This form of the disease is the cause of death for around 1,000 women per month in Britain.

Scientists are hopeful that these findings could help to speed up the diagnosis process, increasing the chance of a patient’s survival.

Linda Millband, national practice lead of the clinical negligence team at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The results of this research are really encouraging.

“If a simple blood test could lead to earlier diagnosis of secondary cancers, it may have the ability to save thousands of lives. While the trial should be repeated to check its accuracy, the study’s initial findings would suggest it is a positive step for the treatment of cancer.”