Has it ever occurred to you that cancer is a disease purely made by man? There’s a recent study that seems to prove this fact.
Researchers from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have conducted some researching and ultimately concluded that cancer is a man-made disease.
In the UK alone, there are 150,000 people who succumb to cancer each year. Statistics have also shown that 1 in 3 people are likely to get cancer.
The researchers came to this conclusion by studying mummies, fossils, and classical literature. According to them, the disease is fueled by the excesses of modern day life. This is due to the fact that tumors were extremely rare in the past. They only became common and rampant in recent times due to people’s poor diet habits, laziness, and excess technology.
The study of Egyptian mummies, showed no signs of cancer in most of them, except one isolated case. When slivers of tissue from hundreds of Egyptian mummies were rehydrated and investigated under a microscope, researchers found only one case of cancer in the mummies.
There are some researchers who argue that the lack of cancer was because of the short lifespan of the Egyptians. But, the researchers from this study disproved these arguments by pointing out the fact that other age-related diseases like brittle bones and hardening of the arteries occurred during this period.
According to reports from the journal Nature Reviews Cancer, the fossil evidence of cancer is not substantial, as scientific literature has provided a few dozen, but mostly disputed, examples in animal fossils. Moreover, a study of Neanderthal bones has offered only one example of possible cancer.
The ancient Egyptian texts also don’t provide solid evidence of cancer, as cancer-like problems were more likely caused by leprosy or varicose veins. It is believed the ancient Greeks were the first people to define cancer as a specific disease, and make a difference between benign and malignant tumors.
Michael Zimmerman, the head researcher of this study, stated that there should have been enough cancer-related evidence in ancient societies because there was no surgical intervention.
“In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases. The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer-causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization”, Zimmerman said.
Professor Rosalie David, who also had a big role in the analysis of the possible reference to the disease in fossil records, classical literature, and mummified bodies, said:
She said: “In industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely rare. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.”
“The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease,” she added. We can make very clear statements on the cancer rates in societies because we have a full overview. We have looked at millennia, not one hundred years, and have masses of data.”
The three lifestyle choices recommended by researchers are regular physical activity, maintaining physical activity and a healthy weight. They believe these are able to prevent about a third of the most common cancers known.
A copy of the paper ‘Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?’ doi:10.1038/nrc2914 is available at http://www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v10/n10/full/nrc2914.html