Researchers of United States recently discovered six cases of cancer when they were studying the bodies of ancient Egyptians who were buried in the Dakhleh Oasis a long time ago. The bodies which were found were of a toddler who suffered from leukemia and a 50 year old man who was detected with a rectal cancer which is most probably caused by human papillomavirus. Ancient Egyptians were buried between 3000 and 1500 years ago which helped the researchers discover the lifetime risk of cancer in Dakhleh was about 5 in every 1000 people in comparison to modern western societies.
A retired anthropology professor at Western University in Ontario studied about the same and advised that few people living at Dakhleh had shorter life spans than people today. He also mentioned that residents of Dakhleh could have died of cancer without any traces left in their remains. Five out of six cases have been diagnosed with cancer by studying lesions (bone damage and holes) on their skeletal system. Recent research has revealed HPV to be the major cause of various forms of cancer which usually affects young adult. HPV is a cause of cancer of the uterine cervix and testes which began in Africa long before Homo sapiens emerged. Whereas scientists were unable to confirm whether HPV existed in the ancient world or not but they hope to gather data on cancer and other diseases in the modern day Dakhleh Oasis.
By: Swati Kaushal