Some 2250 years ago in Egypt, the man known today as the M1 struggled for a long time, a painful, progressive disease. Dull pain throbbed in his lower back, then spread to other parts of his body, so most of the movements of misery. When the M1 finally succumbed to a mysterious illness, aged between 51 and 60, his family paid for him to be mummified so that he could be born again and enjoy the pleasures of the Afterworld.
Now an international team of researchers has diagnosed that plagued the M1 is the oldest known case of prostate cancer in Egypt, and the second oldest event in the world. (Early diagnosis of prostate cancer has become the backbone of 2,700 years of Scythian king of Russia.) Moreover, a new study is now in the international press Journal of Paleopathology suggests that the earlier researchers may have underestimated the incidence of cancer ancient people because of the high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scan can find tumors in size, only 1 2 mm in diameter was only available in 2005. "I think that researchers previously have probably lost a lot without this technology," says team leader Carlos Prato, radiologists in private practice Imagens Médicas Integradas Lisbon.
Prostate cancer starts in the prostate size of a walnut, a part of the male reproductive system. Gland produces a milky fluid part of semen and is located below the bladder of a man. If aggressive disease, cancer cells of the prostate can metastasize, or spread, into the bloodstream and invade the bone. After conducting high-resolution scans of three Egyptian mummies in the collection of the National Archaeological Museum in Lisbon, Prats and his colleagues discovered many small, round, dense M1 tumors in the pelvis and lumbar spine, and in its arms and legs bones. These are the areas most commonly affected by metastatic prostate cancer. "We could not find any evidence to challenge this diagnosis," said Prats.
"I recognize that this is a case of metastatic prostate cancer," said Andreas Nerlich, a pathologist at the University Hospital Munich-Bogenhausen in Germany, who was not involved in research. "This is a study very well done. "
Researchers have long struggled to detect the presence of cancer in the bones and flesh of the ancient mummified dead. However, the reported cases of cancer in older populations are rare. In fact, a study published in 1998 in the Journal of paleopathology estimated that only 176 cases of malignant bone tumors have been reported in tens of thousands of human beings in age. The small number of cases led to a theory that the cancer started flourishing industry in modern times, when the cancer has spread in food and the environment and people began to live longer, allowing more time for tumors grow and proliferate.
But the ancient peoples, says Albert Zink, an anthropologist at the Biological Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Bolzano, Italy, were not strangers cancer. Soot wood-burning fireplaces and chimneys, for example, contains a substance known to cause cancer. And bitumen heated in ancient boat builders to seal and waterproof the vessels is associated with lung cancer and cancers of the respiratory and digestive systems. "I think that cancer was quite common in the past," says Zink, "more common than we have seen."
But the situation could change, says Prato, such as physical anthropologists, to reach a new generation of high-resolution CT scanners. Devices that Prato and his colleagues used to study the M1, for example, the pixel resolution of 0.33 mm, the radiologists to see up to Fleck injury size.
Researchers who study the origin of cancer and the complexity of the diet of the environment, and the prevalence of disease genes, such as improved detection could lead to new disease that has plagued humanity for thousands of years, if not more. "And of course there is always the hope that the achievement of a better understanding of the roots of cancer in some way help to improve," says Zink.
They managed to put the date in the analysis of collagen protein and DNA coast of the same bone and spear.
Previously, the first signs of Mastodon hunt adhered to the "Clovis culture", born about 1000 years later.
For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.