Researchers looking at almost a thousand mummies from ancient Egypt and South America found only a handful suffered from cancer when now it accounts for nearly one in three deaths.
The findings suggest that it is modern lifestyles and pollution levels caused by industry that are the main cause of the disease and that it is not a naturally occurring condition.
The study showed the disease rate has risen dramatically since the Industrial Revolution, in particular childhood cancer – proving that the rise is not simply due to people living longer.
Now it is hoped that it could lead to better understanding of the origins of cancer and to new treatments for the disease which claims more than 150,000 lives a year in the UK alone.
“In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death," said Professor Rosalie David, a biomedical Egyptologist at the University of Manchester.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Mummies examined for rates of cancer
The Telegraph, UK (Richard Alleyne)