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Home News and Update Year 2010 Mummies Show Cancer Is Man Made

Mummies Show Cancer Is Man Made

Times of India
16 October 2010
London, UK

A study of ancient remains of Egyptian mummies has found that cancer is a man–made disease fuelled by pollution and changes to diet and lifestyle.

Mummies Show Cancer Is Man Made
Evidence of cancer in animal fossils, non–human primates and early humans is scarce – a few dozen, mostly disputed, examples in animal fossils, although various malignancies have been reported in nonhuman primates but do not include many of the cancers most commonly identified in modern adult humans.

Despite slivers of tissue from hundreds of Egyptian mummies being rehydrated, just one case of cancer has been confirmed.

This is even though tumours should be better preserved by mummification than healthy tissues. "The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity. This indicates that cancer–causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization," The Daily Mail quoted researcher Michael immerman, a professor at Manchester University, as saying.

The ancient Greeks were probably the first to define cancer as a specific disease and to distinguish between benign and malignant tumours.

But researchers said it was unclear if this signalled a real rise in the disease, or just a greater medical knowledge.

"There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer," co–researcher Professor Rosalie David said.

"So it has to be down to pollution and changes to diet and lifestyle. The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease," David added. "Data from across the millennia has given modern society a clear message – cancer is man–made and something that we can and should address."

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