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Tomenable
22-07-18, 02:08
In Ancient Egypt cancer existed but was much less common than in 1st world countries today:

https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/cancer-deaths-were-far-less-prevalent-ancient-egypt-0010272

Cancer Deaths Were Far Less Prevalent in Ancient Egypt
26 JUNE, 2018 - 13:57 ED WHELAN

Researchers in the deserts of Egypt have made a remarkable discovery while studying the bones of ancient Egyptians. In total, they were able to identify six cases of cancer at a burial site at an oasis in the west of the country. The find is allowing researchers to understand more about the risk of cancer in the ancient world and what were its main causes.

Dakhleh Oasis
The bones were found at the Dakhleh Oasis in the desolate western deserts of Egypt. This oasis has been populated since pre-history and was long part of the Egyptian Kingdom. The bones of over 1080 ancient Egyptians buried in the area were examined as part of the research study. They were all buried between 1500 and 3,000 years ago. From the studies of ancient Egyptian texts, it seems that they had little or no knowledge of the disease and could not treat it.

The cancer cases
Among the six cases of cancer was a toddler with leukemia and a middle-aged man who had rectal cancer. Three of the six cases were believed to be in their 20s or 30s, two of them were females and one was male. The sixth case of cancer was found in a woman who was in her forties and fifties. Cancer was determined in five of the six cases by the study of lesions and damage to the bones, which were almost certainly caused by the spread of tumors. In one instance a preserved tumor was found, in the remains of the fifty-year-old man.

Images of the Egyptian child from the Dakhleh Oasis who was between 3 and 5 years old at death:
https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/Images-of-the-Egyptian-child.jpg?itok=LAF9cLGV
It seems the child died of leukemia. Image credit: El Molto

Minimal Cancer Sufferers
The discovery of the cancers has allowed experts to determine the rate of cancer in a community in ancient Egypt. Based on the extrapolation of the data it would appear that there was a lifetime risk of around 1 in 200 of developing the disease in Pharaonic Egypt. The study, published in The International Journal of Paleopathology, reports that the risk of cancer ‘in today’s western societies is 100 times greater than in ancient Dakhleh’.

However, there are those who caution against this conclusion. The disease is associated with people who are older and in the ancient world humans had considerably shorter lives. Even allowing for this, it is clear that cancer was much less prevalent in ancient Egyptian society. This is probably due not only to the fact that Ancient Egyptians died younger but that modern western lifestyle choices have led to increasing instances of cancer.

Young Cancer Victims
The evidence of cancer in the bones of individuals in their twenties initially baffled researchers. This was because it is very rare for a person that young to develop this disease. The age of the victims led researchers to speculate that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) may have caused the disease in the three younger individuals. LiveScience reports that ‘recent research has revealed that HPV is a major cause of several forms of cancer, including those that often affect young adults’.

The skull of a woman in her 20s showed she suffered from a cancer that had spread to her head:
https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/The-skull-of-a-woman.jpg?itok=e0r80hxx
She may have had the HPV virus. Image credit: El Molto

Among the cancers that are mostly associated with HPV are cancers of the uterine cervix and testes. It was not possible to test the bones to see if the young adults had the virus, but other studies have proven that it existed in the ancient world and that it even predates the emergence of Homo sapiens . It is highly probable that HPV was present in the population of Dakhleh Oasis.

Researchers hope that further data on the incidence of cancer among the modern inhabitants of Dakhleh Oasis can be collected. This can then be compared with the findings from the ancient population of the oasis. Such a study would allow experts to understand the risk of the disease throughout the centuries and would allow them to have a better understanding of this cruel affliction. The findings are also adding to the body of evidence regarding HPV and cancer.

Skull exhibiting evidence of cancer:
https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/field/image/ancient-Cancer-Deaths-egypt.jpg
Source Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

By Ed Whelan

Coriolan
22-07-18, 08:11
In Ancient Egypt cancer existed but was much less common than in 1st world countries today:

https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/cancer-deaths-were-far-less-prevalent-ancient-egypt-0010272

Cancer Deaths Were Far Less Prevalent in Ancient Egypt
26 JUNE, 2018 - 13:57 ED WHELAN

Researchers in the deserts of Egypt have made a remarkable discovery while studying the bones of ancient Egyptians. In total, they were able to identify six cases of cancer at a burial site at an oasis in the west of the country. The find is allowing researchers to understand more about the risk of cancer in the ancient world and what were its main causes.

Dakhleh Oasis
The bones were found at the Dakhleh Oasis in the desolate western deserts of Egypt. This oasis has been populated since pre-history and was long part of the Egyptian Kingdom. The bones of over 1080 ancient Egyptians buried in the area were examined as part of the research study. They were all buried between 1500 and 3,000 years ago. From the studies of ancient Egyptian texts, it seems that they had little or no knowledge of the disease and could not treat it.

The cancer cases
Among the six cases of cancer was a toddler with leukemia and a middle-aged man who had rectal cancer. Three of the six cases were believed to be in their 20s or 30s, two of them were females and one was male. The sixth case of cancer was found in a woman who was in her forties and fifties. Cancer was determined in five of the six cases by the study of lesions and damage to the bones, which were almost certainly caused by the spread of tumors. In one instance a preserved tumor was found, in the remains of the fifty-year-old man.

Images of the Egyptian child from the Dakhleh Oasis who was between 3 and 5 years old at death:
https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/Images-of-the-Egyptian-child.jpg?itok=LAF9cLGV
It seems the child died of leukemia. Image credit: El Molto

Minimal Cancer Sufferers
The discovery of the cancers has allowed experts to determine the rate of cancer in a community in ancient Egypt. Based on the extrapolation of the data it would appear that there was a lifetime risk of around 1 in 200 of developing the disease in Pharaonic Egypt. The study, published in The International Journal of Paleopathology, reports that the risk of cancer ‘in today’s western societies is 100 times greater than in ancient Dakhleh’.

However, there are those who caution against this conclusion. The disease is associated with people who are older and in the ancient world humans had considerably shorter lives. Even allowing for this, it is clear that cancer was much less prevalent in ancient Egyptian society. This is probably due not only to the fact that Ancient Egyptians died younger but that modern western lifestyle choices have led to increasing instances of cancer.

Young Cancer Victims
The evidence of cancer in the bones of individuals in their twenties initially baffled researchers. This was because it is very rare for a person that young to develop this disease. The age of the victims led researchers to speculate that Human Papillomavirus (HPV) may have caused the disease in the three younger individuals. LiveScience reports that ‘recent research has revealed that HPV is a major cause of several forms of cancer, including those that often affect young adults’.

The skull of a woman in her 20s showed she suffered from a cancer that had spread to her head:
https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/The-skull-of-a-woman.jpg?itok=e0r80hxx
She may have had the HPV virus. Image credit: El Molto

Among the cancers that are mostly associated with HPV are cancers of the uterine cervix and testes. It was not possible to test the bones to see if the young adults had the virus, but other studies have proven that it existed in the ancient world and that it even predates the emergence of Homo sapiens . It is highly probable that HPV was present in the population of Dakhleh Oasis.

Researchers hope that further data on the incidence of cancer among the modern inhabitants of Dakhleh Oasis can be collected. This can then be compared with the findings from the ancient population of the oasis. Such a study would allow experts to understand the risk of the disease throughout the centuries and would allow them to have a better understanding of this cruel affliction. The findings are also adding to the body of evidence regarding HPV and cancer.

Skull exhibiting evidence of cancer:
https://www.ancient-origins.net/sites/default/files/field/image/ancient-Cancer-Deaths-egypt.jpg
Source Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

By Ed WhelanCancer is mostly an old age disease. People live much longer now than in ancient times, so it's only logical that cancer is much more common today.

Tomenable
22-07-18, 16:04
Cancer is mostly an old age disease. People live much longer now than in ancient times, so it's only logical that cancer is much more common today.

^^^
They say that even after controlling for age-related factors, modern rates are much higher:

"However, there are those who caution against this conclusion. The disease is associated with people who are older and in the ancient world humans had considerably shorter lives. Even allowing for this, it is clear that cancer was much less prevalent in ancient Egyptian society. This is probably due not only to the fact that Ancient Egyptians died younger but that modern western lifestyle choices have led to increasing instances of cancer."

And actually there is no any obvious correlation between higher life expectancy and higher cancer rates.

Okinawians and Japanese have the highest life expectancy in the world yet one of the lowest cancer rates:

http://www.traveller.com.au/secrets-of-the-island-100-club-22yev

So I have to disagree with your post.

New Englander
23-07-18, 00:23
Thats because today people live past 40........If you aint fat, you die of cancer.

Also, maybe the Ancient Egyptians has less Oncogenes in the population...

Tomenable
23-07-18, 03:25
Thats because today people live past 40.

As they did also in Ancient Egypt.

Low average life expectancy in ancient times was due to 40-50% mortality before the age of 20.

The remaining 60-50% (who survived to adulthood) in most cases lived at least until 60 or 70.

Yes, death was mainly a childhood problem until the Modern Era. Children were dying like flies.

Ygorcs
23-07-18, 07:42
As they did also in Ancient Egypt.

Low average life expectancy in ancient times was due to 40-50% mortality before the age of 20.

The remaining 60-50% (who survived to adulthood) in most cases lived at least until 60 or 70.

Yes, death was mainly a childhood problem until the Modern Era. Children were dying like flies.

The estimates I saw were for the even more sophisticated and prosperous Roman Era, so I presume people in Ancient Egypt fared even worse, but most people who would've surivived the risks of childhood would not reach their 70th birthday. The mortality rates were certainly much, much lower than during the first years of life, but they were still much higher (especially for women in childbirth) in all age cohorts, and IIRC even less than half of those alive at the end of their childhood did live past their 60s, and only a small minority past their 70s. The average post-childhood life expectancy was more in the range of ~45. Still, in any case, when at least ~70-80% of all deaths happened when people were too young (< 50) to die of cancer in high frequency, I think you're obviously expected to find a lot less evidences for cancer-related deaths than in modern populations where more than 90% of the population lives past their 60s. I'd like to know the cancer-related mortality rate for younger cohorts of the population (say, 15 to 40) in modern Western countries, that'd be a less generic mean of comparison with Ancient Egypt.

davef
23-07-18, 13:45
There's more cigarette smoking, processed food and pollution these days, hence the higher cancer rates

Ailchu
23-07-18, 22:51
probably also higher levels of stress and less sleep. pluscweaker immunesystems.

Ailchu
24-07-18, 01:30
Cancer is mostly an old age disease. People live much longer now than in ancient times, so it's only logical that cancer is much more common today.

"However, there are those who caution against this conclusion. The disease is associated with people who are older and in the ancient world humans had considerably shorter lives. Even allowing for this, it is clear that cancer was much less prevalent in ancient Egyptian society."

even without this study it was only logical that cancer is more prevalent today in all age classes we can't really deny that. this study is more like a confirmation of what we already thought was true. still surprised how much more freuquent it is today though.