Reports say a new 'one-step' breast cancer test can significantly cut the treatment process for women with the disease.
Patients having breast cancer surgery will be given the 30-minute breast lymph node assay, which analyzes the underarm glands to check if the cancer has spread, reports The Times.
Most require surgery or a mastectomy to treat the tumor, before further checks are done to see if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. The results can take two to three weeks to come back.
However, thanks to the new assay, surgeons can obtain results in a matter of minutes, allowing them to treat the patient during the same operation.
Surgeons say that it could improve outcomes for women with breast cancer by eliminating the need for repeat operations and enable them to start chemotherapy earlier.
Professor Graham Layer, breast surgeon at the Royal Surrey, said: "We can see cases where cancer has spread that we could not have spotted with conventional ultrasound or biopsy tests. For those women with a positive result, we are able to deal with that much more quickly than if we had waited for the results of routine pathology tests following a traditional breast cancer operation."