Scientists suggest that cancer is purely man-made

Oct 14, 2010
Dividing Cancer Cells. Credit: University of Birmingham

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet, a study by University of Manchester scientists has strongly suggested.

The study of remains and literature from ancient Egypt and and earlier periods – carried out at Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology and published in Nature Reviews Cancer – includes the first histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy.

Finding only one case of the disease in the investigation of hundreds of Egyptian mummies, with few references to cancer in literary evidence, proves that cancer was extremely rare in antiquity. The disease rate has risen massively since the Industrial Revolution, in particular childhood cancer – proving that the rise is not simply due to people living longer.

Professor Rosalie David, at the 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 and changes to our and lifestyle.”

She added: “The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease. We can make very clear statements on the cancer rates in societies because we have a full overview. We have looked at millennia, not one hundred years, and have masses of data.”

The data includes the first ever histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy by Professor Michael Zimmerman, a visiting Professor at the KNH Centre, who is based at the Villanova University in the US. He diagnosed rectal cancer in an unnamed mummy, an ‘ordinary’ person who had lived in the Dakhleh Oasis during the Ptolemaic period (200-400 CE).

Professor Zimmerman said: “In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases. The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization”.

The team studied both mummified remains and literary evidence for ancient Egypt but only literary evidence for ancient Greece as there are no remains for this period, as well as medical studies of human and animal remains from earlier periods, going back to the age of the dinosaurs.

Evidence of cancer in animal fossils, non-human primates and early humans is scarce – a few dozen, mostly disputed, examples in animal fossils, although a metastatic cancer of unknown primary origin has been reported in an Edmontosaurus fossil while another study lists a number of possible neoplasms in fossil remains. Various malignancies have been reported in non-human primates but do not include many of the cancers most commonly identified in modern adult humans.

It has been suggested that the short life span of individuals in antiquity precluded the development of cancer. Although this statistical construct is true, individuals in and Greece did live long enough to develop such diseases as atherosclerosis, Paget's disease of bone, and osteoporosis, and, in modern populations, bone tumours primarily affect the young.

Another explanation for the lack of tumours in ancient remains is that tumours might not be well preserved. Dr. Zimmerman has performed experimental studies indicating that mummification preserves the features of malignancy and that tumours should actually be better preserved than normal tissues. In spite of this finding, hundreds of mummies from all areas of the world have been examined and there are still only two publications showing microscopic confirmation of cancer. Radiological surveys of mummies from the Cairo Museum and museums in Europe have also failed to reveal evidence of cancer.

As the team moved through the ages, it was not until the 17th century that they found descriptions of operations for breast and other cancers and the first reports in scientific literature of distinctive tumours have only occurred in the past 200 years, such as scrotal cancer in chimney sweeps in 1775, nasal cancer in snuff users in 1761 and Hodgkin’s disease in 1832.

Professor David – who was invited to present her paper to UK Cancer Czar Professor Mike Richards and other oncologists at this year’s UK Association of Cancer Registries and National Cancer Intelligence Network conference – said: “Where there are cases of cancer in ancient Egyptian remains, we are not sure what caused them. They did heat their homes with fires, which gave off smoke, and temples burned incense, but sometimes illnesses are just thrown up.”

She added: “The ancient Egyptian data offers both physical and literary evidence, giving a unique opportunity to look at the diseases they had and the treatments they tried. They were the fathers of pharmacology so some treatments did work

“They were very inventive and some treatments thought of as magical were genuine therapeutic remedies. For example, celery was used to treat rheumatism back then and is being investigated today. Their surgery and the binding of fractures were excellent because they knew their anatomy: there was no taboo on working with human bodies because of mummification. They were very hands on and it gave them a different mindset to working with bodies than the Greeks, who had to come to Alexandria to study medicine.”

She concluded: “Yet again extensive ancient Egyptian data, along with other data from across the millennia, has given modern society a clear message – is man-made and something that we can and should address.”

Explore further: Patients with advanced, incurable cancer denied palliative care

More information: A copy of the paper ‘Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?’ is available at www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v10… 10/full/nrc2914.html

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User comments : 70

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kevinrtrs
Oct 14, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Jimbaloid
4.5 / 5 (21) Oct 14, 2010
purely man-made


I'm not sure about the title here, it feels as if it is trying too hard to sensationalize the findings.

If I were to stay out in the sun too much and get a deadly skin cancer, I understand it was my choice, my free will to be out in the sun. However, I'd be hard pressed to call that cancer 'man made'.
Jimbaloid
4 / 5 (5) Oct 14, 2010
After the fall of man and then the world-wide flood there's been only a one-way ticket to the grave.
No amount of scientific tinkering is going to undo our death sentence.
There's only one way to do away with sickness and death but of course the scientific atheists do not find it acceptable.


Care to share? I presume it an option available to all if they can and do accept?
Skeptic_Heretic
4.6 / 5 (19) Oct 14, 2010
There's only one way to do away with sickness and death but of course the scientific atheists do not find it acceptable.
Well why don't you demonstrate it for us so that we'll have some empirical evidence to judge your claim by.
_ilbud
Oct 14, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Sancho
3.4 / 5 (9) Oct 14, 2010
Petroleum in all its many forms is toxic. Microwaves interacting in certain combinations of frequency, amplitude and pulse are probably carcinogenic. High levels of stress also. These are all aspects of modernity not found in ancient Egypt.
Eikka
4.5 / 5 (15) Oct 14, 2010
There's plenty of carsinogenic substances to be found in nature, like tar, pitch, smoke from fireplaces, forest fires, naturally occurring oils and bitumens, radon gas...

The people who were mummified were often nobility who didn't have to deal with things such as rock dust in a quarry.
CreepyD
4.1 / 5 (11) Oct 14, 2010
Wouldn't the ancient Egyptions not have seen much cancer because their average life expenceny was so low from dying of plenty of other causes?
frajo
3.9 / 5 (15) Oct 14, 2010
High levels of stress also. These are all aspects of modernity not found in ancient Egypt.
Stress levels certainly have been higher in ancient times as people had to be afraid of cruelties unheard of in our era.
frajo
4.3 / 5 (12) Oct 14, 2010
There's plenty of carsinogenic substances to be found in nature, like tar, pitch, smoke from fireplaces, forest fires, naturally occurring oils and bitumens, radon gas...

The people who were mummified were often nobility who didn't have to deal with things such as rock dust in a quarry.
But they used lead and other unhealthy substances in their cosmetics.
Shootist
3.8 / 5 (17) Oct 14, 2010
After the fall of man and then the world-wide flood there's been only a one-way ticket to the grave.


[sarc]What 'fall of man'? Do you mean the 'fall of Woman'? And the temptation of Man by the scarlet hussy? [/sarc]

Oh, and you are wrong, on many levels. Humanity is on the verge of curing death. So there :p
frajo
4.1 / 5 (11) Oct 14, 2010
She's been misquoted no one would say "The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease.". It's "an historical".
As I'm not a native speaker I abstain from having an opinion of my own but my "Oxford" writes:
"A" is used before a consonant sound, "an" before a vowel sound: a shirt, a house ,,,
Perhaps another English-American gap?
Shootist
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 14, 2010
She's been misquoted no one would say "The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease.". It's "an historical".
As I'm not a native speaker I abstain from having an opinion of my own but my "Oxford" writes:
"A" is used before a consonant sound, "an" before a vowel sound: a shirt, a house ,,,
Perhaps another English-American gap?


"An historic" is correct in the rebellious colonies.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (7) Oct 14, 2010
"An historic" is correct in the rebellious colonies.

Not when talking about "a perspective". Historical is not the subject. This is a grey area in American English where grammatically "an amorphous blob" is correct, but "a hysterical joke" is also correct. H sound adjectives can be used either way correctly based upon the starting sound of the subject.
Taubus
5 / 5 (17) Oct 14, 2010
There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer.


Whut?

What about the Aflatoxins produced by many of the funghi of the Aspergillus type? AFAIK some of the most potent carcinogens around...

Or Aristolochic acid which is produced by certain plants used in some herbal medicines

That statement is so epically wrong i even made an account to comment!
satyricon
5 / 5 (12) Oct 14, 2010
What about virus's that cause cancer?
lengould100
4.7 / 5 (16) Oct 14, 2010
Hmmm... Another "back to pre-civilized" promoter? Many of the claims in the article appear suspect and poorly supported. eg.

Finding only one case of the disease in the investigation of hundreds of Egyptian mummies, with few references to cancer in literary evidence, proves that cancer was extremely rare in antiquity.


Proves?
cijbm
2.3 / 5 (11) Oct 14, 2010
This has got to be the sickest joke ever. I can't beleive they call themselves scientist or that they get funding.

Absoulte morons!!!!

Nothing constructive to say to do so would mean actually taking them seriously. lol
CarolinaScotsman
4.6 / 5 (12) Oct 14, 2010
I think the claim that ALL cancers are man made is a little too sweeping. Certainly a very large number can be attributed to modern enviornmental factors, but there remains a segment that seem to be naturally occuring. It would be far more accurate to say that most cancers seem to be the result of man made conditions.
Eric_B
5 / 5 (6) Oct 14, 2010
Satyricon- "What about virus's that cause cancer?"

That's what I thought and I knew the author was going to neglect it.

I think it will be proven that a group of factor most likely cause cancer. Compounds that are mutagenic and compounds that damage immune response and inherited factors and viruses, all in concert are the killer.
yyz
4.9 / 5 (10) Oct 14, 2010
Has anyone looked at cancer rates among animals (particularly primates) located in zoos in large metropolitan areas? Seems many zoo animals would undergo similar exposure to some known environmental toxins as the zookeepers, so to speak.
otto1932
2.3 / 5 (21) Oct 14, 2010
There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer.


Whut?

What about the Aflatoxins produced by many of the funghi of the Aspergillus type? AFAIK some of the most potent carcinogens around...

Or Aristolochic acid which is produced by certain plants used in some herbal medicines

That statement is so epically wrong i even made an account to comment!
They also had plenty of natural protection too; lots of roughage in the diet, antioxidants, exercise, even parasites such as hookworm are thought to temper the immune system and protect people from autoimmune diseases such as arthritis.

Newly-evolved viruses and other pathogens which resulted from close contact with animals, and which the species hasnt had enough time to adapt to, are being implicated in susceptibility to cancer-causing agents which would normally not affect us.

Radiation- Radon from basements, coal-fired heaters, and of course nuclear tests have also contributed-
enantiomer2000
3.5 / 5 (6) Oct 14, 2010
"Wouldn't the ancient Egyptions not have seen much cancer because their average life expenceny was so low from dying of plenty of other causes?"

This is exactly what I thought of as well. Most people don't get cancer until later in life. These mummies are probably mostly less than 40 years old.

I think these researchers are grasping to hard for the answer that they are looking for.
Skepticus_Rex
3.7 / 5 (6) Oct 14, 2010
I seem to recall that some dinosaurs--duckbiils of one variety or another, as well as another couple species--also had cancer. Humans weren't around then, so one wonders why we get the blame for it.

Sure, there may be more cancers now than then, but how can we be sure based upon scanty fossil evidence?
Skepticus_Rex
4 / 5 (8) Oct 14, 2010
This gets to me:
There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer.


How about the Sun? How about virii? There are several that have been linked to cancers of various sorts. These all occur in nature.
veigapaula
4.8 / 5 (4) Oct 14, 2010
This is misguiding information...cancer did exist in ancient societies. What man has made with the polluting agents is TO INCREASE the probability of cancerous cells developing in a human or other mammal body. The production of cancerigenous cells is not a characteristic of modern societies; it is a bio-chemical response of the body, either caused by genetic factors or environmental ones; it seems, from reading this piece of news released from Prof. Rosalie David, to whom I am indoubtly thankful, that PROF. ROSALIE DAVID HAS NOT READ WHAT I WROTE IN MY THESIS, SUPERVISED BY HER and published.
killmo
5 / 5 (6) Oct 14, 2010
The distinction between natural and unnatural is lost here -- X-rays are natural, as well as beta and gamma rays. In nature you can find radioactive materials that give off high energy rays as their nucleus decays.
The increase in the occurence of cancer is most likely due to genetic mutations from drastic environmental changes, ie a lack of time to adapt.
Let us just be glad that slavery has shown a downward trend since ancient egypt.
Yellowdart
4.2 / 5 (5) Oct 14, 2010
Seems she bases most of her conclusion from the lack of treatment conducted pre-I.R. How that makes cancer all "man-made" seems to be an odd jump.

Man may have amplified its exposure risk due to modern products and life, and coupled with our modern medicine which can detect cancer in the first place it would naturally elevate the number of cases. I dont see the correlation that it is thus all "man-made"...

Elements like Lead are carcinogenic if ingested verses say Radon which is inhaled and has one of the highest risk factors associated with it. It's also very difficult to remediate.
thales
4 / 5 (8) Oct 14, 2010
After the fall of man and then the world-wide flood there's been only a one-way ticket to the grave.
No amount of scientific tinkering is going to undo our death sentence.
There's only one way to do away with sickness and death but of course the scientific atheists do not find it acceptable.


Ancient Egypt was B.C. - "Before Christ." Modern day is A.D. - "Anno Domini," or "In the year of the Lord".

Ergo, Jesus causes cancer.
dirk_bruere
5 / 5 (1) Oct 14, 2010
"There's only one way to do away with sickness and death"

Transhumanism:
http://humanitypl...ist-faq/
Newbeak
5 / 5 (3) Oct 14, 2010
Stumbled upon an article in a Canadian newspaper that may explain why the ancients didn't get a lot of cancers: http://goo.gl/LMJe






fixer
not rated yet Oct 14, 2010
Very badly written article, or it has been edited by a journalist!
Suggesting that cancer is a modern illness does have merit, however.
Certainly our lifestyles and the "supplements" we ingest compromise our immune systems to the point that mutated cells, ie cancer, seem to be the norm rather than the exception thesedays.
As the man said, "It's just good business!"
GaryB
not rated yet Oct 14, 2010
After the fall of man and then the world-wide flood there's been only a one-way ticket to the grave.

There's only one way to do away with sickness and death but of course the scientific atheists do not find it acceptable.

But, many of us do find it acceptable to encode our brain into a robot/machine.

I think if you examine your concept of immortality, you will find it very shallow and brittle. A world of no change and no decay ... is basically equivalent to death. A world of change is not compatible with individual immortality.
GaryB
5 / 5 (3) Oct 14, 2010
As to the article ... industrialization had given us medicine, food, cleanliness that yields double the life span as our non-cancerous ancestors, may they rot in peace.
yyz
not rated yet Oct 14, 2010
@Newbeak,

"Stumbled upon an article in a Canadian newspaper that may explain why the ancients didn't get a lot of cancers: http://goo.gl/LMJe "

Hey, thanks for the link. I remember reading about febrile reactions some time ago in Scientific American, I think, but couldn't remember the particulars. You may be on to something.
Birthmark
1 / 5 (1) Oct 14, 2010
I do not doubt it. I mean I'm sure before our fast, poisonous, junk food revolution and polluting (from...well everything) there were very very rare cases of cancer if any.
GregHight
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 15, 2010
LOL... All this terrible stuff we have done to our environment and our average lifespans just keep increasing.
fixer
3.5 / 5 (2) Oct 15, 2010
True, but many of those old people are so sick they would welcome the opportunity to die with dignity.
It's not how long you live, but how WELL you live.
jsa09
5 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2010
Wouldn't the ancient Egyptions not have seen much cancer because their average life expenceny was so low from dying of plenty of other causes?

Reading this article these exact thoughts were running through my mind. When there are more ways to die then there will automatically be less cancer.
Birger
5 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2010
The headline is misleading -but the results are nevertheless of great interest. Of course, for the oldest age group, there will be a vastly increased risk of cancer, and the fraction of 80-year-olds was low in antiquity.
Ivan_Staroversky
5 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2010
I wonder if the same/similar statement can be made about autism?
JSC22
3 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2010
You are what you eat eats. I saw a tip on this blog below that I really like. It said to only eat foods that your great grandma would recognize. Thinking of some of the highly processed/packaged foods that I was eating I decided to eat more whole and natural foods - fruits and veggies. Which feels great!blog.mydiscoverhealth.com
otto1932
1 / 5 (15) Oct 15, 2010
As to the article ... industrialization had given us medicine, food, cleanliness that yields double the life span as our non-cancerous ancestors, may they rot in peace.
-And it has weakened us so that we need medicines which addict us and cause us further harm; has created nutritionless foods which fatten us, raise our blood pressure and compromise our immune systems; and made our environment so clean that our immune systems never properly configure themselves giving us allergies and autoimmune diseases. And who knows how long our forebears actually lived when healthy and well-fed? We are rotting as we live.

I think your industrialization is overrated.
Ergo, Jesus causes cancer.
Maybe hes like the fireman who goes around setting fires so he can put them out -?
Dug
5 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2010
Part II. The conclusion that "cancer is man-made and something that we can and should address.” is poorly stated - misleading at best and scientifically irresponsible at worst. Cancer rates are higher in today because of well demonstrated reason's, but primarily because of a failure of our immune systems to recognize and deal with it effectively, and occur rather at as man omissions by ignorance (excluding smoking and dietary excesses). The genetic loss of immunity (especially childhood indications) as human pre-reproductive survival rates have risen steadily since the middle-ages are signifiant. We have simply defeated the selection processes for stronger immune systems as we have offset the related mortalities through technical interventions - like our general genetic decline in childhood eyesight. While it's easy to agree with parts of Dr. David's statements, on the whole - her arguments and conclusions simply aren't good science.
Dug
5 / 5 (1) Oct 15, 2010
Part I. Brevity may be "the soul of wit," but it's also a primary definition of inadequate communication. Dr. David may be a very experienced Egyptologist of many accomplishments in that field, but her quotes seem to indicate she isn't wholly prepared to address the epidemiology of cancer. There are significant numbers of naturally occurring carcinogens in the environment and always have been. Aflatoxins are among the most carcinogenic substances known and come from moldy grains, similar other seed foods, and to some degree animals fed on them - all very typical conditions and components of man's ancient environments. (http://en.wikiped...atoxin). Aflatoxins primarily affect the liver which is generally removed in mummification processes.
gblaze41
4 / 5 (3) Oct 15, 2010
I would think hat the method of death was much different a few thousand years ago, maybe they just didn't live long enough to contract cancer, or something else would kill them a majority more than cancer.
mfritz0
1.5 / 5 (2) Oct 15, 2010
The probable answer is right in most everyone's backyards and homes. Most everyone is constantly bombarded with small to large electromagnetic fields induced by the electricity that powers your homes every day. The utility companies always vehemently deny this, but believe me when I say too much of a good thing is always bad for you. Electricity is a carcenogen. It should always be laid underground in shielded pathways with proper grounds. Electric power in your home should be in shielded and grounded conduits and electric cords should be shielded as well. The High voltage power lines that supply the main grids should never be allowed to come any where near a residential area. I know this sounds absurd, but it is true. Eventually man will figure out that D.C. voltage is much safer than Alternating Current. The constantly changing magnetic fields in A.C. voltage produce electromagnetic radiation. Many studies have been done to make sure this isn't so...yea right.
trekgeek1
5 / 5 (6) Oct 15, 2010
After the fall of man and then the world-wide flood there's been only a one-way ticket to the grave.
No amount of scientific tinkering is going to undo our death sentence.
There's only one way to do away with sickness and death but of course the scientific atheists do not find it acceptable.



Scientific Atheists? So what about unscientific Atheists or scientific theists? Is is just unscientific theists who know the secret? Guess what, we're going to beat this "death sentence" from your god. Then maybe you'll finally put your childish god toys away and grow up. You say the absolute dumbest things, Really. The fact that you bow down on your knee's and accept a death sentence from a deity who screwed up everything in the first place and blames humans for it is disgusting. Grow some balls and take command of this universe instead of praising a celestial terrorist.
ireland94
5 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2010
Interesting thread the wanders all over the place. One of the basic characteristics of many cancers are that they take a long time to develop. It is necessary to determine the age of the mummies sampled. Additionally, as noted in an earlier post, many not all but many of the mummies were of the upper class. 100's if not 1000's of mummies were burned in steam railroad engines by the British. So what is the age at the time of their mummification of the sample set? How many where in the sample set verses the total number of known mummies? What is the number of mummies estimated to have been destroyed and sadly forever lost? What is the sex to age population distribution of the sample set? The location where the mummies were originally found will help determine the class of the ancient that the mummy is a member. Though I believe the basic research that was performed is enlightening, I can not reach the same conclusion for all cancers for the ancients.
685nm
3 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2010
the most absurdly asserted conclusions ever. i laughed when i saw this research published on the telegraph, and when i saw it here...i stopped laughing.

i wish we never discovered how to make glaucoma, arthritis, or enlarged prostates!
Jermz
5 / 5 (3) Oct 16, 2010
"There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer."

That's bullshit, smoke inhalation from a forest/camp fire wouldn't have caused lung cancer? The sun's UV rays didn't cause skin cancer before the Industrial Revolution?
la7dfa
5 / 5 (1) Oct 16, 2010
I would like to see more studies and conclusions on this subject. There should be no reason, cancer did not exist way back in time.

http://www.cancer...-present
Resonance
2.5 / 5 (2) Oct 17, 2010
Intergalactic supernovae have caused many drastic biological shifts over hundreds of millions of years. These shifts, would have appeared to be "cancer," in the microscopic timescale of that era.
genastropsychicallst
1 / 5 (4) Oct 17, 2010
... some remembers before man-made but after woman-done, suggest no animal miracleless all wonderfull plants. Because they still forget physics ...
Erog
5 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2010
"There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer."
This statement So completely and totally wrong I am amazed that this is on physorg.
People forget the "natural environment" IS deadly. Contaminates in water like arsenic (100% natural) WILL cause cancer, The SUN again (100% natural) will cause cancer, etc ,etc ,etc . . also OMGs people live 2-3 times longer now then in the past. environmental cancer takes a long time to develop . . get it yet? and you can go on and on ripping this poor research up with ease.
LAME
Newbeak
4.3 / 5 (3) Oct 17, 2010
Check out New Scientist's review of the study: http://goo.gl/Llw4
Makes me wonder how thoroughly some universities vet proposed research.
VOR
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2010
One of the more significant limitations of our language and the way we commonly use it is that you often can't express an idea in very few words without it being an over-gereralization or being inaccurate and quite misleading. This failure is one of the most commonly occuring in our language, perhaps the most common. We are just completely prone to leaving off the modifiers, adjectives, qualifiers, quantifiers, etc- either for breivity, impact, or 'laziness' . If we could somehow add up all the time wasted in correcting the 'mistake', talking about it, etc, it would sure be an enormous cost. It's a great example of the saying "there's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over" You will encounter it many times everyday-(probably, lol).
Maybe some other language(s) is more efficient in this respect.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2010
"There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer."
This statement So completely and totally wrong I am amazed that this is on physorg.
People forget the "natural environment" IS deadly. Contaminates in water like arsenic (100% natural) WILL cause cancer, The SUN again (100% natural) will cause cancer, etc ,etc ,etc . . also OMGs people live 2-3 times longer now then in the past. environmental cancer takes a long time to develop . . get it yet? and you can go on and on ripping this poor research up with ease.
LAME

Don't shoot the messenger..
scenage
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2010
"There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer."

That's bullshit, smoke inhalation from a forest/camp fire wouldn't have caused lung cancer? The sun's UV rays didn't cause skin cancer before the Industrial Revolution?


We've increased the risk of cancers. Especially in the parts of the world I'm in. CFC's have created a hole above us where ozone used to be.

The article has just been sensationalised. I doubt it was written with such sweeping statements initially.
Au-Pu
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2010
mfritz0 you are nearer the mark than you realize. A man who served as Vice President under two different Presidents suppressed a research paper that showed that EVERY home in the USA was potentially hazardous to its occupants because of its electrical circuitry. He was protecting the interests of the utility corporations who he feared would be sued out of existence and who backed him, his President and his party. Think about that in November.
Au-Pu
1 / 5 (1) Oct 17, 2010
With respect to the letter "H" Which is spelt as "aitch" and should be pronounced as such. The letter was initially silent. So that Hotel was pronounced as Otel so you would book into an Otel. You would live in an Ouse, read an Istorical paper, listen to an Ysterical joke. With poor levels of literacy the letter aitch was improperly pronounced as haitch and it became common to pronounce this haitch so that 'otel became hotel, 'ouse became house, 'istorical became historical, 'ysterical became hysterical and so on.
Consequently whether you use an "a" before these words or an "an" has tended to become somewhat arbitrary.
Unless it appears clumsy I prefer to us "an" before most words that start with an aitch (h).
Nairb
5 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2010
There is little doubt that pollutants are playing a role in the rising rate of cancer, as is the ozone effect with regards skin cancer. But if 100 people have same exposure rates to certain pollutants only 60 of them would develop cancer as a result.

We all have cancerous cells in our body but our immune system usually destroys these cells.

In the past, it was a case of survival of the fittest. Those with strong immune systems, or the right genetic code, were far more likely to survive and reproduce. Now, with antibiotics, successful treatment of childhood cancer, vaccines, etc people with weaker immune systems are not falling to disease in their youth, but surviving, thriving and reproducing.

I would not have lived past 10 if it were not for medical intervention in an otherwise fatal illness. But I survived and now have 3 beautiful children.

Perhaps our ability to save the lives of the genetically less prepared is a big factor in increased cancer rates. Just a thought.
rkolter
5 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2010
So, because one mummy had cancer, cancer was rare in antiquity?

Four particularly obvious flaws here.

First, mummy preservation removes or masks traces of many cancers.

Second, mummification was not for everyone in Egypt; nor was everyone's mummification handled the same.

Third, I seriously doubt enough mummies have been clinically checked for cancer to validate the statement that it was rare.

Fourth, Many cancers kill in old age. By our definition of old age, not by ancient Egypt's definition.
Au-Pu
3 / 5 (2) Oct 18, 2010
NairB, what you say is correct.
However despite the fact that you and many others have through modern medicine survived what 100 years ago would have been a fatal condition does not necessarily mean that you have passed a defective gene to your children.
The beauty of human pairing is that one partner may have a weak or recessive gene that is countered by their partner.
The problems get worse when both partners have the same recessive gene.
Unless your condition was a very common one then it is unlikely that your wife would share the same genetic propensity.
But yes, modern medicine keeps people alive who would not otherwise have survived to procreate and in some cases it may be some of these people who contribute to higher current statistics in various disease areas.
Someone should have a look at this and other hereditary influences on their statistics.
Enjoy your children, they are the best thing that can happen to any person.
Quantum_Conundrum
2 / 5 (4) Oct 18, 2010
It's pretty obvious that cancer is not "purely" man made.

However, we should also acknowledge just how much of cancer really is either man made, or else exacerbated by the activities of man.

Just off the tops of our heads, many of us can list several major carcinogens or teratogens which either have been in common use, or continue to be in common use:

Asbestos
Tobacco
Alcohol
Marijauna (30 times more than tobacco)
Artificial sweeteners
carbonated water
Dioxin (used to make PVC pipe)

There are probably any number of household chemicals and food additives which cause or contribute to cancer, and we just don't know about it.

What about that new carpet smell? That stuff takes two weeks to go away.
Sparticle
4 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2010
Why go back thousands of years if hypothesis is that "Cancer is a modern, man-made disease caused by environmental factors such as pollution and diet"? Why not study modern primitive societies with less exposure to modern carcinogen candidates? Arctic or Borneo?
otto1932
1.1 / 5 (15) Oct 18, 2010
@Sparticle
"While there were no known cases of cancer when Dr Albert Schweitzer first went to in Gabon, he noted sadly that: 'In the course of the years we have seen cases of cancer in growing numbers in our region. My observations incline me to attribute this to the fact that the natives were living more and more after the manner of the whites...'"

-If you look you may find more info on this-
getgoa
1 / 5 (4) Oct 18, 2010
Egyptians were wicked according to this phrase:

Exodus 9:27 found phrase
And Pharao sent and called Moses and Aaron, saying to them: I have sinned this time also; the Lord is just: I and my people are wicked.

And here is what Einstein said about it:

“As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise, I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them."

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca...2zORqUC2

Power causes cancer, or knowledge since Sir Francis Bacon wrote knowledge is power.

yyz
5 / 5 (4) Oct 19, 2010
"And here is what Einstein said about it..."

Interesting that you make a religious reference and follow with a cherry picked Einstein quote.

More interesting are Einstein's views on religion itself(from your link):

"[T]he word 'God' is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

Concerning Jewish religion itself:

"For me, the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions"

So are you (getgoa) on board with Einstein's views on religion(s) as well as his take on cancer?

(btw, I can see why this letter fetched $330k USD, given its content.)
sunk818
5 / 5 (1) Oct 19, 2010
Genetic mutation can cause cancer, but it is also used as a way to evolve biology. If you believe in evolution, cancer is part of our imperfect DNA replication process.
Nartoon
4 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2010
Ancient Egypt, modern society, how about something in between. Before the name cancer came about there was a disease known as wasting, now known as cancer. These cases took place pre 1900 when there was no chemicals or compounds etc. that they are trying to attribute to modern society. What then caused these cancers? There certainly were many of them in the mostly pre-industrial world that we know today.
sunk818
5 / 5 (1) Oct 23, 2010
Science Friday (NPR) discusses the origin of the word cancer. They are attributing the word cancer to Hippocrates around 400 BC: http://www.scienc...01010228