2,250-year-old Egyptian mummy had prostate cancer

Published on November 2nd, 2011 | by Sevaan Franks

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mummy

I thought this article was interesting, with Movember underway and all: A CT-scan performed on a 2,250-year-old Egyptian mummy has revealed that the deceased suffered from prostate cancer.

Now an international research team has diagnosed what ailed M1: the oldest known case of prostate cancer in ancient Egypt and the second oldest case in the world. (The earliest diagnosis of prostate cancer came from the 2700-year-old skeleton of a Scythian king in Russia.) Moreover, the new study now in press in the International Journal of Paleopathology, suggests that earlier investigators may have underestimated the prevalence of cancer in ancient populations because high-resolution computerized tomography (CT) scanners capable of finding tumors measuring just 1 to 2 millimeters in diameter only became available in 2005. “I think earlier researchers probably missed a lot without this technology,” says team leader Carlos Prates, a radiologist in private practice at Imagens Médicas Integradas in Lisbon.

[Full story]

Story: Heather Pringle, Science Magazine | Photo: (mummy)MNA / DDF – Instituto dos Museus e da Conservação, I.P., Lisbon; (CT, inset) LMP / IMI – Imagens Médicas Integradas, Lisbon

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