EgiptoCancer ccording to a report from NBC News a Spanish university has found signs of breast cancer dating back over 4000 years ago. Dr. Mahmoud el-Damaty, the Antiquities Minister, released a statement that seems to back up earlier findings that cancer is not just a modern disease.
In the statement he notes that this appears to be the oldest case of breast cancer ever discovered. He says, “Dr. Miguel Botella (University of Granada) and his team of anthropologists have identified on the bones of an adult woman (who shows) an extraordinary deterioration in all her skeleton.” He goes on to point out that a, “study of her remains shows the typical destructive damages provoked by the extension of a breast cancer as a metastasis in the bones.”
The anthropologists have determined that the woman lived somewhere around 2200 BC, which would have placed her near the end of the 6th Egyptian dynasty. She was apparently a member of the highest ranks of the society in the town of Elphantine, which is the southernmost town in Egypt.
The University of Jaen, in Spain, began an archaeological dig in Qubbet el-Hawa back in 2008. The primary focus of the team was to establish the rituals surrounding funeral rites of the upper elite of Elephantine between 2250 and 1750 BC. Dr. Miguel Botella is head of the anthropology team at the site, and his previous sites are scattered around the world.
The bones discovered by the team were remarkable well preserved, and offered ample study specimens for them to examine. The discovery of cancer dating back this far seems to dispel the idea that it’s a modern disease brought to society by our lifestyles. With this new find, perhaps more information will come to light regarding whether or not the ancient societies were aware of cancer, and what treatments they may have had to offer to those who suffered from it.