October 26, 2010
Posted: 1951 GMT
Just imagine: a world without cancer. It's a tantalizing thought, recently floated by researchers at Manchester University in the UK.
That world may well have existed, but in the distant past, according to their survey of hundreds of mummies from Egypt and South America. The researchers found that only one mummy had clearly identifiable signs of cancer.
The study suggested that industrialization, pollution and the ills of modern life are to blame for the epidemic of cancer now seen sweeping around the globe.
Monday morning I went to the mummy room in Cairo's cavernous Egyptian Museum to have a look for myself. They looked pretty rough, more than 3,000 years after their prime, and not being an expert I just gawked like the tourists who were filing through.
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