Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Ancient Skeleton Marked With Cancer Lesions Found

Monday, March 17, 2014

Worlds-Earliest-Metastatic-CancerDURHAM, ENGLAND—The 3,200-year-old skeleton of a man aged between 25 and 35 at the time of death shows signs of metastatic carcinoma—a malignant tumor that originated in an unknown soft tissue and spread across the body to his collar bones, shoulder blades, upper arms, vertebrae, ribs, pelvis, and thigh bones. Michaela Binder of Durham University uncovered the wealthy man’s tomb at the site of Amara West in the Sudan last year. “This may help us to understand the almost unknown history of the disease. We have very few examples pre the first millennium A.D.,” she told The Journal.