The 3,200-year-old skeletal remains of a young man found in a tomb in Africa harbor the oldest evidence yet of cancer in humans, researchers said. The bones, found last year by Durham University and British Museum researcher Michaela Binder in Sudan on the banks of the River Nile, were riddled with telltale pockmarks of metastatic cancer, a tumor that spreads from the original cancer site to other parts of the body, according to findings reported in this week’s issue of the journal PLOS ONE.
While cancer is usually blamed on modern lifestyle, a consequence of poor food choices, lack of exercise and excess smoking and drinking, Binder said that this discovery is evidence that the disease may be as old as humanity itself.
“It was likely a less prevalent disease than it is today but this shows that many factors in the environment that have been shown to cause cancer have been around a long time,” she told ABC News today.
Possible causes for the unfortunate young man’s cancer? He might have inhaled smoke from wood-burning fires. Binder said smoky fires can contain just as many unhealthy chemicals as cigarette smoke. Or, he may have been exposed to the parasite schistosomiasis, which is associated with bladder and breast cancer in the same geographical region today. It’s also possible the 25- to 35-year-old man may have had a genetic predisposition to cancer.
“We have no proof of the cause. We simply don’t know,” she said.
Read the Full Article at Yahoo