Researchers Find Cancer in Ancient Egyptian Mummy

Man who died in his forties 2,200 years ago is the second oldest known case of prostate cancer.

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A professor from American University in Cairo says the discovery of prostate cancer in a 2,200 year-old mummy indicates the disease was caused by genetics, not environment.

The genetics versus environment question is key to understanding cancer.

A mummy entering a CT scanner tube set up outside of the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo. Credit: AP

AUC professor Salima Ikram, a member of the team that studied the mummy in Portugal for two years, said on Sunday that the mummy was of a man who died in his forties.

Ikram said this was the second oldest known case of prostate cancer.

"Living conditions in ancient times were very different; there were no pollutants or modified foods, which leads us to believe that the disease is not necessarily only linked to industrial factors," she said.

A statement from AUC says the oldest known case came from a 2,700 year-old skeleton of a king in Russia.

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