“Cancer Appears To Be A Modern Disease Created By Modern Life”

Analysis of hundreds of Egyptian mummies shows cancer was extremely rare. The Telegraph

Professors Rosalie David (University of Manchester, UK) and Michael Zimmerman (from our local Villanova University) say that cancer was a rarity in humans before the 17th century:

Study: Cancer: An Old Disease, A New Disease Or Something In Between?, Nature Reviews Cancer, October 2010
Free pdf: Cancer: An Old Disease, A New Disease Or Something In Between?
Press release: Scientists Suggest That Cancer Is Man-Made, University of Manchester, 14 October 2010

The team studied both mummified remains and literary evidence for ancient Egypt but only literary evidence for ancient Greece as there are no remains for this period, as well as medical studies of human and animal remains from earlier periods, going back to the age of the dinosaurs.

Hundreds of mummies from all areas of the world have been examined and there are still only two publications showing microscopic confirmation of cancer.

It was not until the 17th century that they found descriptions of operations for breast and other cancers and the first reports in scientific literature of distinctive tumours have only occurred in the past 200 years.

[David] concluded: “Yet again extensive ancient Egyptian data, along with other data from across the millennia, has given modern society a clear message – cancer is man-made and something that we can and should address.”

Cancer is not a rarity today. In the US, it is the second most common cause of death, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths. Cancer is the number one leading cause of death among 45-to-64 year olds, the second leading cause of death among 5-to-14 year olds, and the forth leading cause of death in 15-to-34 year olds.

I’ve read criticism of David’s paper which says that people who were alive thousands of years ago didn’t live long enough for cancer to develop. If that’s true, that cancer is only an older person’s disease, why is so much cancer striking and killing our young people today? And why are cancer rates climbing among our youth? Something about modern life is fueling that. And it doesn’t seem probable that it’s something which also existed thousands of years ago, like sunlight or radon or viruses or smoke (people lit fires indoors!).

There’s a difference between cancer initiation and cancer progression. Campbell discussed this in his books Whole and The China Study, as well as in his research. He could give mice a carcinogen and it would initiate a cancer. But he found he could turn the growth of that cancer on and off by changing the quantity of animal protein he fed them. Our exposure to a carcinogen does not, by itself, guarantee that we will develop cancer, or that we will experience progression of that cancer. Other factors come into play, and of them, diet is key.

Cancer Caused By Modern Man As It Was Virtually Non-existent In Ancient World, The Telegraph, 14 October 2010
New Study: Ancient Egyptians Ate Mostly Plants

1 thought on ““Cancer Appears To Be A Modern Disease Created By Modern Life”

  1. Pingback: New Study: Ancient Egyptians Ate Mostly Plants | Fanatic Cook

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