New discoveries are being made in the field of cancer research every week, such as the discovery that tumors shed DNA and this can lead to a more successful screening and treatment of the disease, but today we’ve got some other exciting news in the field of archeological discoveries and cancer study! A 3,000 year old skeleton with metastatic cancer was discovered and it holds the answer to many questions that scientists have been posing for decades.
Cause is one of the world’s biggest killers and the factors which lead to it and which are thought to be the main causes of the disease are smoking and exposure to certain harmful chemicals, but with the discovery of a 3,000 year old skeleton with metastatic cancer, new information about the disease is being uncovered. This is evidence that cancer was a disease present in humans more than 3,000 years ago.
3,000 Year Old Skeleton with Metastatic Cancer
The research team, led by a PhD student of Archeology at the Durham University in the United Kingdom have published all the details of their investigation in the PLOS ONE medical journal.
Their research could provide insight into the evolution of this terrible disease and even contribute to discoveries that might help with the finding of a cure.
The experts used radiography and a SEM (scanning electron microscope) to analyze the bones of the adult male’s skeleton who is thought to be between the ages of 25 and 35. They found cancer metastases in almost all of his bones: shoulder blades, upper arms, thigh bones, vertebrae, collar bones and ribs.
The scientists are considering two possibilities of why this ancient individual has contracted the cancer: it was either an infectious disease (maybe Bilharzia) or a parasitic infection that leads to cirrhosis and breast cancer in men. Also, exposure to smoke could have also contributed to the man’s cancer, because the people in the Amara West (where this man was from) had big ovens in small and enclosed spaces.
The scientists believe that cancer today is much more prevalent than it was back then, but it still was a huge killer even in the past. People nowadays live longer and are exposed to many chemicals and factors that cause cancer, but infectious diseases and cancer is something that needs to be looked into further and the discovery of a 3,000 year old skeleton with metastatic cancer is a great step into that direction.
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