Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors like pollution and diet, according to a University of Manchester study published in Nature. A study carried out at Manchester's KNH centre for Biomedical Egyptology, looking at the remains and literature from ancient Egypt and Greece, suggests that the first historical diagnosis of cancer was in an Egyptian mummy.
But, they found only one case of cancer amongst hundreds of mummies studied, and little reference to the disease in ancient literature. According to scientists, this proves that cancer was very rare in antiquity.
So, what could be the factor missing in this puzzle? In other words, what's different nowadays that makes cancer a much more common disease? Our own unique environmental factors that didn't exist in ancient times.
Professor Rosalie David, at the Faculty of Life Sciences, said: “In industrialised societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely rare. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.”
“Yet again extensive ancient Egyptian data, along with other data from across the millennia, has given modern society a clear message – cancer is man-made and something that we can and should address.”
So, the way we live today is causing many of us to die from cancer — how ironic.