Cancer is man made?

I have to say that I\’m not entirely sure that I believe this:

Researchers looking at almost a thousand mummies from ancient Egypt and South America found only a handful suffered from cancer when now it accounts for nearly one in three deaths.

The findings suggest that it is modern lifestyles and pollution levels caused by industry that are the main cause of the disease and that it is not a naturally occurring condition.

The reason being that we do find instances of cancers in animals, and in animals that don\’t particularly have exposure to, large parts of our modern world. Tasmanian Devils, for example, are being pretty much wiped out by a cancer.

That some cancers are environmentally caused there\’s no doubt about it.

Prof Zimmerman said: “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 industrialisation.”

But all?

There is another explanation possible of course: that cancer is actually an infectious disease, one that\’s arisen only recently. As, I think I\’m right in saying, some leukaemias are thought to be?

17 thoughts on “Cancer is man made?”

  1. Cancer is largely a disease of the old (60+) and/or the poor. Most mummies were younger/richer at the time of mummification. Also, i thought many internal organs were removed at the time of mummification, destroying the evidence?

  2. There’s also the fact that as incidents of “cured” diseases drop, incidents of other diseases rises. We survive to get cancer.

  3. The classic infection-caused cancer is, of course, HPV-induced cervical cancer.

    Plus, it is no coincidence that AIDS sufferers often end up with lots and lots of small cancers (commonly around the neck and head area): since AIDS compromises the immune system, the preponderance of cancers in AIDS victims would indicate a pathogenic cause in at least some tumours.


  4. As TDK- the result of reducing the death rate from injuries (Tutankhamen died of a broken leg) and diseases such as TB people live long enough to develop cancer. If we ever find a cure for cancer then people will live long enough to die from something else.

  5. Interesting that you quote Tasi Devils, as the cancer that’s affecting them is one of the few known to be directly communicable.

    I don’t think there’s a direct way of determining the strength of a person’s immune system, if there was, the results might be interesting.

  6. What the FUCK!? Has that man never heard of the epidemiological transition model?

    Cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death today, not because they’re new, but because we’ve — thanks to improvements in medical science — eliminated every other disease that used to kill you before then.

    Adam above has the essential point; but it’s so important it warranted expanding. People didn’t used to get cancer so much, SOLELY because they wouldn’t live long enough to become at risk.

    This is a well established theory in social science; and I’m astoninshed that fellow doesn’t know about it.

  7. Looks like a classic correlation/causation fallacy to me. More than a hint of enviro/anti-capitalist crap in the air here.

  8. The Englishman in his Castle covered it, pointing to a report that a sample of 2 out of 7 Mountain Gorilla deaths were due to cancer. Not man made.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Actually there is an obvious source of bias:

    Fossil evidence of cancer is also sparse, with scientific literature providing a few dozen, mostly disputed, examples in animal and Neanderthal bones, the study in journal Nature Reviews Cancer reports.

    We are talking about mummies here. Many organs will have been severely handled, but even then, if you dismiss the evidence of cancer as evidence of something else, you will not come up with many cases of cancer.

    It looks to me that perhaps they are not looking for evidence of cancers, but for evidence of no cancers. No surprise if they find none.

    The mummified bodies from both rich and poor backgrounds showed that the average life expectancy ranged from 25 to 50, depending on their background.

    Yeah. How many people in Britain aged under 25 or even under 50 get the sort of cancers that would survive as evidence in a mummy? Cancer is a disease of old age.

    Evidence of cancer in ancient Egyptian texts is also “tenuous”, the researchers claimed, with cancer-like problems more likely to have been caused by leprosy or even varicose veins.

    So there you go. No cancers then. The evidence is evidence of something else.

  10. Pingback: Cancer is man made? « Health Academy

  11. And cervical cancer is caused by a wart virus, and some say melenoma is caused by a related virus and not sunshine at all…

    The real question is “which cancers are definitely NOT a communicable disease?”

    Not that many.

  12. Isn’t this all too narrow a view of health? Does it matter that we get more cancers when overall we are much healthier than the ancients? Industrialization has allowed a transition to a richer society where reductions in other diseases has more than offset any rise in cancer (assuming this is true).

  13. They did find examples of other modern day aged related diseases such as hardening of the arteries and arthritis, which they said dismissed the argument that ancient humans did not live long enough to develop cancer.

    Pity they didn’t go into a little more detail on that bit, really.

  14. Everyone will have to die of something. If we eliminate malnutrition and starvation, simple infections and influenza, smallpox, tuberculosis, typhus, syphilis, measles and some other diseases, what options do we have? Cancer (caused by poisons and natural phenomenon such as radiation) and cardiovascular diseases (made worse by too much food).

    We could of course make it a priority that everyone dies of boredom.

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