3,200-year-old skeleton had cancer

3,200-Year-Old Skeleton Had Cancer
3,200-Year-Old Skeleton Had Cancer

As far as archeological finds go - this one is pretty rare.

"A 3,200-year-old skeleton with cancer. ... The remains of the wealthy man, believed to be around 30 when he died, were found close to the Nile River."

British scientists who made the find say it's the oldest example of cancer ever discovered.

KHQ-TV reports the skeleton was found in a Sudanese tomb, and showed a malignant soft-tumor cancer that had spread to several bones, including the man's shoulder blades, upper arms and collar bone.

So why's this such a big deal? Cancer is largely thought of as a modern-day ailment, but a BBC reporter got to take a first hand look at the discovery, and says scientists have big hopes for what they can learn from it.

"These bones suggest that the disease has its roots much deeper in our past and that is something that could be useful to medical researchers trying to combat cancer."

In fact the lead author of the study called cancer's history so far quote "almost unknown" - pointing out there are very few known examples of the disease before the first millennium AD.

As Daily Mail points out, researchers still don't know what caused the man's cancer, but they've theorized carcinogens from wood fire smoke or genetic factors could be possibilities.

The researchers' findings can be found in the science journal PLOS One.