A national study in the UK found that one in four patients diagnosed for cancer in England found that they were suffering from the deadly disease after they arrive at the hospital.

"The figure for diagnoses via emergency presentations is way too high," said Harpal Kumar, the chief executive of Cancer Research UK. "This statistic helps explain why we have lower survival rates than we would hope to have, lower than the best countries in Europe"

The National Cancer Intelligence Network or NCIN analyzed data from diagnoses in 2007 for the study. Nearly half of the patients suffering from acute leukemia and brain cancer discovered of their problem at a critical stage. Most of the patients who were diagnosed late were either poor, below 25 or very old.

"We need screening programs to be rolled out as early as possible and GPs given rapid access to the tests that will enable patients to be moved quickly through the system," said Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: "We are committed to improving cancer outcomes. Earlier diagnosis is crucial to match the best survival rates in Europe."