We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Did the Ancient Egyptians Attempt to Treat Cancer?

Margaret Lipman
By
Published May 31, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The ancient Egyptians left a legacy of incredible feats of engineering, most notably the Great Pyramid of Giza, the only still-standing Wonder of the Ancient World. They also amassed a surprising amount of detailed medical knowledge, including the development of prosthetic limbs and the treatment of complex fractures. Now, a recent discovery has revealed that the Egyptians were attempting to treat or study cancer in the third millennium BC, roughly a thousand years before what was previously considered the earliest evidence of cancer treatment.

In a report published this week in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, paleo-paleontologist Edgard Camarós, a professor at Spain’s University of Santiago de Compostela, and his co-authors discuss the markings on a skull belonging to a man who lived sometime between 2,687 and 2,345 B.C and died in his early 30s.

Skull 236, discovered in Giza in the 1900s, is part of Cambridge University’s Duckworth Collection. Researchers studying the remains in the 1960s determined that they belonged to an individual suffering from cancer, which is what initially attracted Camarós when he came across the find in 2021. The skull has a large cancerous lesion and around 30 smaller lesions, indicating that the cancer had metastasized, and it was around these legions that the researchers noticed cut marks.

The work of ancient oncologists?

  • *Though the scientists who examined the skull 60 years ago didn’t make the connection that a very early attempt at cancer surgery had been undertaken, Camarós and his team had advanced technology at their disposal, including micro-CT scanners and high-resolution cameras for focusing on the tiniest of details. According to their observations, it appears that ancient physicians used a metal instrument to perform surgery or a medical autopsy on the man.

  • *Incredible though the discovery is, many questions remain unanswered. Camarós hopes to learn more about the genetic basis of cancer by finding ancient DNA that will reveal how it has evolved throughout human history.

  • *Despite numerous medical breakthroughs that have greatly improved survival rates, cancer is still prevalent in the 21st century and was the second-highest cause of death in the U.S. in 2022, with 608,000 deaths.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Margaret Lipman
By Margaret Lipman
With years of experience as an educator, Margaret Lipman produces thoughtful and informative content across a wide range of topics. Her articles cover essential areas such as finance, parenting, health and wellness, nutrition, educational strategies. Margaret's writing is guided by her passion for enriching the lives of her readers through practical advice and well-researched information.
Discussion Comments
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
With years of experience as an educator, Margaret Lipman produces thoughtful and informative content across a wide range...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.