The virtual absence of cancer in ancient Egyptian mummies indicates that cancer-causing factors are caused by modern lifestyles
Cancer is a man-made disease caused by the excesses of modern life, a new study suggests.
A team at Manchester University looked at almost a thousand mummies from ancient Egypt and South America for signs of cancer. They diagnosed the disease in just one Egyptian mummy, proving just how rare it was.
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 scientists also found very few references to the symptoms of cancer in ancient literature, and highlighted the fact that there has been a huge increase in cancer cases since the Industrial Revolution, and that the disease now accounts for one in three deaths.
According to the scientists, this proves the rise is not due simply to people living longer.
Researcher Professor Rosalie David, said: ‘In industrialised societies cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. 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.’
Dr Rachel Thompson, of World Cancer Research Fund, said the research was ‘very interesting’. He says: ‘Scientists now say a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent about a third of the most common cancers so perhaps our ancestors’ lifestyle reduced their risk from cancer.’