In Britain 45,000 women every year are diagnosed with breast cancer, 30 % of these eventually die from this devastating disease.
The survival rate, if detected early can be as high as 48 per cent according to figures published recently in Annals of Oncology.
It recommends that once women have been affected by the disease, regular and continuous monitoring is essential to avoid life threatening secondary tumors from going unnoticed.
The study undertaken by the University of Sydney, for its School of Health program reaffirms the fact that women who survive breast cancer have a life time risk of a relapse or of new cancerous breast lumps developing.
Often the second breast will become infected and a full mastectomy will be the only course of treatment.
Over a thousand women participated in the research, had all attended an Italian cancer clinic from the eighties up until 2005. 14% of those had their cancer diagnosed by a doctor whilst the vast majority had a mammogram, which had identified the disease.
The head of the study, Nehmat Houssami, admitted that the evidence to show the benefit of early detection was pretty thin on the ground.
Usually once a woman contracts the disease the fight to beat it will be a long round of regular tests and self examination, combined with every available treatment.
It is vital that women should be made aware of all the facts and that they receive the best support possible from both the medical profession and her family network.