Researchers have identified the oldest known cases of two kinds of cancer in Egyptian mummies, it has been announced.
The Spanish researchers have pin-pointed a death from breast cancer to about 2000 BC.
A second mummy was found to be of a man who died from multiple myeloma in about 1800 BC.
Researchers at the University of Granada, led by Professor Miguel Cecilio Botella López, used CT scans to study mummies found in Qubbet el-Hawa, Aswan, in Egypt – a burial ground for the ruling classes.
The two mummies were buried using early embalming techniques that had preserved only bones, wrapped in large numbers of bandages.
A university spokesperson said: “Studies conducted on the two oldest mummies, which reveal evidence of breast cancer and multiple myeloma — the oldest known cases to date — have enabled researchers to confirm that these diseases were already present in humans in ancient times.
“The research findings also confirm that these individuals belonged to an advanced society with enough resources to support and care for them throughout the long course of their diseases, at a time when no cures or treatments were available.”
Source: University of Granada
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