Perspectives

Nature Reviews Cancer 10, 728-733 (October 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrc2914

Science and societyCancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between?

A. Rosalie David1 & Michael R. Zimmerman2  About the authors

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In industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. The history of this disorder has the potential to improve our understanding of disease prevention, aetiology, pathogenesis and treatment. A striking rarity of malignancies in ancient physical remains might indicate that cancer was rare in antiquity, and so poses questions about the role of carcinogenic environmental factors in modern societies. Although the rarity of cancer in antiquity remains undisputed, the first published histological diagnosis of cancer in an Egyptian mummy demonstrates that new evidence is still forthcoming.

Author affiliations

  1. A. Rosalie David is at the KNH Centre of Biomedical Egyptology, The University of Manchester, 3.614 Stopford Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.
    Email: rosalie.david@manchester.ac.uk
  2. Michael R. Zimmerman is at the Villanova University, 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085, USA.
    Email: michael.r.zimmerman@villanova.edu

Published online 3 September 2010

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