A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Possible Cancer Detected in Ancient Egyptian Mummy
Friday, July 15, 2022
WARSAW, POLAND—According to a Science in Poland report, researchers from the Warsaw Mummy Project suggest that the extensive facial defects observed in a computed tomography scan of a 2,000-year-old Egyptian mummy may have been caused by nasopharyngeal cancer. Previous studies of the mummified remains, which were brought to Poland in the early nineteenth century, have determined that they belonged to a young woman who was pregnant at the time of her death. “Firstly, we have unusual changes in the nasopharyngeal bones, which, according to the mummy experts, are not typical of the mummification process,” said Rafał Stec of the Medical University of Warsaw. Radiologists have also noted that the changes observed in the bones could have been caused by tumors. The team members plan to collect tissue samples from the mummy and compare them with cancer samples taken from other Egyptian mummies. The results of the tests could also be compared with modern cancer samples, and perhaps offer information on the evolution of the disease. To read about what researchers have learned from CT scans of other mummies from around the world, go to "Heart Attack of the Mummies."
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