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Evidence of surgical tumor removal in ancient Egyptian skull is ‘milestone in the history of medicine'

·1 min

Cancer, a disease often associated with the modern age, was known to healers in ancient Egypt, according to new evidence. A skull over 4,000 years old from the University of Cambridge collection revealed signs that ancient physicians may have attempted to treat certain cancers through surgery. The skull, labeled 236, is considered one of the oldest examples of malignancy in the ancient world. Recent examination using digital microscopy and CT scans detected cut marks around the tumors, suggesting surgical removal. It remains unclear whether the tumors were removed while the patient was alive or during a postmortem analysis. The discovery provides direct evidence of the sophisticated medical knowledge and surgical practices in ancient Egypt.