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Thursday, 28 June 2018

Skeletal records from Ancient Egypt show that cancer rates have been “actively getting worse”

Skeletal records from Ancient Egypt hint that cancer rates have been “actively getting worse”: An analysis of 1,087 skeletons from Ancient Egypt’s western desert found lesions “likely consistent with carcinoma” in only six of them, according to Alphr. “Using this data, we can estimate that the Egyptian cancer rate was around one in 1,000. The current lifetime cancer risk for the western world in 2018? Close to 50%.” That means the lifetime cancer risk today is around 100 times greater than in Ancient Egypt.

No need to start panicking just yet: The researchers were specifically looking for lesions in the skeletons as evidence of cancer, but not all cancers leave behind a lesion, meaning some of the skeletons that were analyzed actually did have cancer but there was no physical evidence left behind. Furthermore, “cancer rates increase with age, and just 7.7% of ancient Egyptians lived beyond the age of 60. Given that half of all cancers affect those over the age of 70, that’s not insignificant.”

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