Oldest evidence of breast cancer found in Egypt

Researchers were alarmed when they noticed unusually high levels of deterioration in the skeleton of woman buried in a tomb along the Nile river.

March 25, 2015 10:41
 breast cancer

Handout of a skull, part of the skeleton of an Egyptian woman whom Egyptian authorities say shows the world's oldest evidence of breast cancer. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Archaeologists have uncovered the oldest evidence of breast cancer in the world, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. It was found in the skeleton of a woman found in Qubbet el-Haawa, a site of tombs located along the western Nile river.

According to Dr. Miguel Botella from the University of Granada, he and his anthropological team noticed an unusually high level of deterioration in the woman's skeleton, which researchers says was the result of breast cancer that spread to the rest of her bones.

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The archaeological team, lead by Spain's University of Jaen, uncovered the skeleton and said that the woman most likely lived around 2200 BCE in the elite Egyptian town of Elephantine.

They said that there was evidence that she received treatment over a long period of time, though was not able to perform any type of physical labor.

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