Nearly 25% of all cancers in England are only detected when patients are admitted to hospital in an emergency, the National Cancer Intelligence Network has said.

The group analysing all patients diagnosed with cancer in England in 2007 to determine the stage at which it was diagnosed.

It found that more than half of the patients with acute leukaemia and brain cancer were diagnosed at a critical stage.

Pensioners and people aged under 25and were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer during emergency procedure.

Poorer people were more likely to be diagnosed at critical stage than the better off.

In addition, the study revealed that the patients who were diagnosed with cancer at a critical stage were more likely to die within a year than those whose cancer was diagnosed early.