Monday, August 6, 2018

Ancient history of cancer

The oldest credible evidence of cancer in mammals consists of tumor masses found in fossilized dinosaurs and human bones from pre-historic times.

Archaeologists have found human remains dating several thousand years back from which specimens have been interpreted as consistent with cancer. Such is the case of a female skull from the Bronze Age (1900–1600 B.C.E.) and Peruvian Inca skeletons from ca. 2,400 years ago.

Some of the earliest evidence of human bone cancer was found in mummies in ancient Egypt and in ancient manuscripts especially the Edwin Smith and George Ebers papyri They were written between 1500 and 1600 BC possibly based on material from thousands of years earlier. The world’s oldest recorded case of breast cancer hails from ancient Egypt in 1500 BC and it was recorded that there was no treatment for the cancer, only palliative treatment.

The Smith papyrus, possibly written by Imhotep the physician-architect who designed and built the step pyramid at Sakkara in the 30th century BC under Pharaoh Djoser, is believed to contain the first reference to breast cancer (case 45) when referring to tumors of the anterior chest.

The earliest cancerous growths in humans were found in Egyptian and Peruvian mummies dating back to 1500 BC. The oldest scientifically documented case of disseminated cancer was that of a 40- to 50-year-old Scythian king who lived in the steppes of Southern Siberia 2,700 years ago.

Hippocrates
The word cancer came from a Greek words karkinos to describe carcinoma tumors by a physician Hippocrates (460-370 B.C). In Greek this means a crab. He left a number of detailed descriptions of various diseases, including descriptions of lesions that had affected skin, breasts, stomach, cervix, and rectum. He also classified these into cancers that were in an early stage and others that were “occult.”

By the middle of the 20th century, scientists began solving the complex problems of chemistry and biology behind cancer. Scientists identified that cancer could be caused by chemicals (carcinogens), radiation, viruses and also inherited from ancestors. Most carcinogens were damage the DNA, which led to abnormal growth of cells. Ancient history of cancer
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