BOWEL cancer patients living in the poorest areas of the West of Scotland are 24% more likely to die within five years of treatment than their affluent neighbours.
Researchers in Glasgow found there was an "excess" of deaths within the first 30 days of surgery in patients from the most deprived areas.
Patients were most likely to be diagnosed with bowel cancer at a later stage, making it more difficult to cure and were also more likely to have other illnesses.
The University of Glasgow study looked at nearly 4300 patients from Greater Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Forth Valley who had surgery for bowel cancer between January 2001 to December 2004.
The results showed that survival rates for five-years after surgery for bowel cancer were lower among patients from the most deprived areas: 59.5% of patients compared with 69.7% among the most affluent patients.
Glasgow had the most areas of deprivation.
Cancer experts described the findings as "unacceptable" and called for more public awareness campaigns in deprived areas.
When researchers excluded patients who died within the first 30 days of surgery, they found no difference in survival between socioeconomic groups.
The findings will be presented at the annual National Cancer Intelligence Network conference today in Birmingham.
Raymond Oliphant, lead researcher from Glasgow University's West of Scotland Cancer Surveillance Unit, said: "This study will help those working on ways to improve outcomes for bowel cancer patients."
Elsepth Atkinson, director of Macmillan Cancer Support Scotland said the situation was "unacceptable" adding, "People in these communities also need to know where they can easily access cancer information and support.
"Macmillan has community-based services in areas including Easterhouse and people can also access support over the phone by calling our support line on 0808 808 0000."