Research has found that a significant number of lung cancer cases are diagnosed when patients are in hospital emergency departments.

The Irish Cancer Society is calling for an effective and urgent campaign to ensure the earlier detection of lung and other cancers in Ireland.

A quarter of lung cancer cases are diagnosed when patients are in the emergency department, with 62% of these cases diagnosed at a late stage. 

The research, by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland and funded by the Irish Cancer Society, also showed that patients from the most deprived populations were 54% more likely to be diagnosed as a result of an emergency presentation.

Overall, 15% of all cancers detected between 2010 and 2014, were diagnosed this way.

People with prostate, breast and melanoma skin cancer were less likely to present as emergencies.

The Irish Cancer Society has warned that late diagnosis limits treatment options and reduces the chances of survival.

Head of Services and Advocacy Donal Buggy said the research shows that over 600 cases of lung cancer a year are being diagnosed in the emergency department and in the majority of cases the cancer is already at a late stage.

He said there are a number of specific targets aimed at increasing the proportion of lung cancers diagnosed early in the National Cancer Strategy.

"We want the Government, the National Cancer Control Programme, and organisations like the Irish Cancer Society, to come together to take urgent action and implement concrete measures that will improve the earlier diagnosis of lung, and other cancers in Ireland, during the lifetime of National Cancer Strategy 2017-2026," he said.