Cancer `a man-made disease`

Cancer is largely a man-made disease caused by lifestyle factors like diet and pollution.

Last Updated: Oct 15, 2010, 16:43 PM IST

London: Cancer may not depend on natural factors, as British scientists claim it is largely a man-made disease caused by lifestyle factors like diet and pollution.
A team at Manchester University investigated ancient Egyptian remains, looking for signs of cancer, and diagnosed the disease in an Egyptian mummy for the first time but it says finding just one case after examining hundreds of mummies proves cancer was then extremely rare.

The scientists also found very few references to the symptoms of cancer in ancient literature; there has been a huge increase in cancer cases since the Industrial Revolution, the `Daily Express` reported.

According to the scientists, this proves the rise is not due simply to people living longer.

Professor Rosalie David, at the university`s faculty of life sciences, said: "In industrialised societies cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a
cause of death. But in ancient times it was extremely rare.

Professor Rosalie David, at the university`s faculty of life sciences, said: "In industrialised societies cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a
cause of death. But in ancient times it was extremely rare.

"There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle."

Michael Zimmerman of Manchester University diagnosed cancer in an unnamed mummy, an "ordinary" person who had lived in the Dakhleh Oasis, now part of the Libyan desert, three centuries before the birth of Christ.

PTI