Washington: A 2150-year-old Egyptian mummy, catalogued as M1, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, a new study has revealed.
The mummy, kept at the National Archaeology Museum of Lisbon, was decked with a cartonnage mask and bib and also had an elaborately painted shroud.
The man, about 5ft 5in tall, was between 51 and 60 years old when he died a slow, painful death.
For the study, the researchers subjected the mummy to powerful Multi Detector Computerized Tomography (MDCT) scans.
The specially designed protocol produced “really unusual high quality images,” Carlos Prates, a radiologist at Imagens Médicas Integradas in Lisbon told Discovery News.
The scan showed a pattern of round and dense tumours, measuring between 0.03 and 0.59 inches, interspersed M1’s pelvis and lumbar spine.
“The bone lesions were considered very suggestive of metastatic prostate cancer” the researchers said.
Initially, the researchers had zeroed in on other diseases as well but M1’s sex, age, the distribution pattern of the lesions, their shape and density, strongly argued for prostate cancer.
“It is the oldest known case of prostate cancer in ancient Egypt and the second oldest case in history,” Prates said.