CAIRO (AP) — A professor from American University in Cairo on Sunday said the discovery of prostate cancer in a 2,200-year-old mummy indicates the disease was caused by genetics, not environment.
The genetics-environment question is key to understanding cancer.
AUC Professor Salima Ikram, a member of the team that studied the mummy in Portugal for two years, said the mummy was of a man who died in his 40s.
She said this was the second-oldest known case of prostate cancer.
"Living conditions in ancient times were very different; there were no pollutants or modified foods, which leads us to believe that the disease is not necessarily only linked to industrial factors," she said.
A statement from AUC said the oldest known case came from a 2,700-year-old skeleton of a king in Russia.