"Cancer found in mummies is very rare," say professors Rosalie David and Michael Zimmerman from the University of Manchester. Their investigation of hundreds of Egyptian mummies found only one case of cancer. Searching for evidence of cancer in fossils and ancient medical texts, they uncovered only five cases of tumors, mostly benign. They conclude that cancer among ancient people "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 pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle."
"Cancer appears to be a modern disease created by modern life."
The ancient Egyptians were very adept at the use of herbs and drugs for disease treatments and made meticulous notes for every physical specialty of their day. During the following centuries, there were many fathers of medicine that recorded human maladies and treatments, building on the foundation of the great Egyptian physicians. The scarcity of references to cancer in ancient literature seems to confirm the rarity of cancer in olden times. But since then, cancer rates have risen almost exponentially, beginning with the Industrial Revolution. This is particularly true with childhood cancer, proving that the rise is not simply due to people living longer.