Tue, Apr 25, 2017 | updated 10:21 AM IST

Turns out, we've been dealing with cancer for million years

Updated: Jul 29, 2016 15:24 IST      
Turns out, we've been dealing with cancer for million years

Washington D.C, Jul 29 (ANI): Is cancer really a modern man-made disease? Only if processed foods were available 1.7 million years ago, suggests a recent study.

Researchers led by scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand's Evolutionary Studies Institute and the South African Centre for Excellence in PalaeoSciences announced in two papers the discovery of the most ancient evidence for cancer and bony tumours yet described in the human fossil record.

The discovery of a foot bone dated to approximately 1.7 million years ago from the site of Swartkrans with definitive evidence of malignant cancer, pushes the oldest date for this disease back from recent times into deep prehistory. Although the exact species to which the foot bone belongs is unknown, it is clearly that of a hominin, or bipedal human relative.

In an accompanying paper appearing in the same journal, a collaborating team of scientists identify the oldest tumour ever found in the human fossil record, a benign neoplasm found in the vertebrae of the well-known Australopithecus sediba child, Karabo from the site of Malapa, and dated to almost two million years in age. The oldest previously demonstrated possible hominin tumour was found in the rib of a Neanderthal and dated to around 120,000 years old.

Edward Odes, lead author of the cancer paper, noted, "Modern medicine tends to assume that cancers and tumours in humans are diseases caused by modern lifestyles and environments. Our studies show the origins of these diseases occurred in our ancient relatives millions of years before modern industrial societies existed."

The cancer in a foot bone, a metatarsal, was identified as an osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer which usually affects younger individuals in modern humans, and, if untreated typically results in early death. "Due to its preservation, we don't know whether the single cancerous foot bone belongs to an adult or child, nor whether the cancer caused the death of this individual, but we can tell this would have affected the individuals' ability to walk or run," said Dr Bernhard Zipfel, a Wits scientist. "In short, it would have been painful."

Lead author of the tumour paper and co-author of the cancer paper, Dr Patrick Randolph-Quinney suggested "The presence of a benign tumour in Australopithecus sediba is fascinating not only because it is found in the back, an extremely rare place for such a disease to manifest in modern humans, but also because it is found in a child. This, in fact, is the first evidence of such a disease in a young individual in the whole of the fossil human record."

Lee Berger, an author on both papers, added "not only has there been an assumption that these sorts of cancers and tumours are diseases of modernity, which these fossils clearly demonstrate they are not, but that we as modern humans exhibit them as a consequence of living longer, yet this rare tumour is found in a young child. The history of these types of tumours and cancers is clearly more complex than previously thought."

The study is published in South African Journal of Science. (ANI)

Frozen fruits, vegetables help achieve your nutrition goals

Updated: Apr 25, 2017 09:20 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 25 (ANI): According to a recent study, people who consume frozen fruits and vegetable have significantly higher intakes of key nutrients, such as potassium, fiber and calcium.

Full Story >>

London [UK], Apr 25 (ANI): According to a new study, only one in five victims with serious injuries caused by child abuse in England and Wales gets treated at a major trauma centre.

Full Story >>

Gene reveals cause of fatal childhood disorder: Study

Updated: Apr 24, 2017 17:51 IST     

New Delhi [India], Apr 24 (ANI): A gene, involved in brain development, which can lead to severe disability and infant death, has been identified by scientists.

Full Story >>

Alcohol: the modern age liver killer

Updated: Apr 24, 2017 17:51 IST     

New Delhi [India], Apr 24 (ANI): Alcohol is predominantly metabolized through liver, hence its cumulative toxicity over years play important role in liver diseases or pancreatic diseases.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], April 24 (ANI): Due to increasing deaths because of prostate cancer among men, US researchers have suggested a special screening more frequently and at an early age to avoid the development of preclinical prostate cancer - that is not symptomatic - to advanced stages.

Full Story >>

Love guzzling diet sodas? Here is why you should NOT

Updated: Apr 24, 2017 07:02 IST     

New York [U.S.], Apr. 24 (ANI): Still downing gallons of diet soda despite knowing that it wrecks your body? Maybe the knowledge of artificially sweetened beverages taking a toll on your brain as well ought to make an impact on your unhealthy habit.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 23 (ANI): A recent study has demonstrated that in the general population, central obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, lipid abnormalities and high alcohol consumption were the strongest predictors of severe liver disease.

Full Story >>

Breastmilk may help detect your cancer risk

Updated: Apr 23, 2017 11:50 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 23 (ANI): Breastmilk might offer clues about a woman's cancer risk, according to a recent research.

Full Story >>

Soon, new weapon in war against obesity

Updated: Apr 23, 2017 11:14 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 23 (ANI): A team of scientists has uncovered a potential approach to combat obesity.

Full Story >>

Turns out, being obese is worse than smoking

Updated: Apr 23, 2017 10:52 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 23 (ANI): You may want to shed those extra kilos as a recent study has found obesity as a top cause of preventable life-years lost.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 23 (ANI): Testing for molecular markers in the urine of kidney transplant patients could reveal whether the transplant is failing and why, according to a recent research.

Full Story >>

From urine to blood: How antibiotic resistance spreads

Updated: Apr 23, 2017 09:25 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 23 (ANI): People with drug-resistant bacteria in their urine or stool samples are at an increased risk of developing Sepsis, a bloodstream infection that is also resistant to certain antibiotics, according to a recent study.

Full Story >>

Move over contact lenses, LASIK is better

Updated: Apr 22, 2017 18:05 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], April 22 (ANI): Good news for those who underwent LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) for correction of their vision, as a recent study has found that the rate of cornea infection is lower.

Full Story >>

Early detection of oral cancer can increase survival chances

Updated: Apr 22, 2017 08:03 IST     

New Delhi [India], Apr. 22 (ANI): In today's era of booming medical advancements, the chances of survival from cancer can be increased, if it is detected at an early stage.

Full Story >>

Eman Ahmed has done miraculously well: Doctor

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 21:11 IST     

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], Apr 21 (ANI): 36-year-old Egyptian Eman Ahmed, who was the heaviest woman in the world at 500-plus kg until a few months ago, has lost 250kg in two months after undergoing surgery here at Saifee Hospital.

Full Story >>

Let's create awareness about liver cancer!

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 17:25 IST     

New Delhi [India], Apr 21 (ANI): The increasing liver disease is one of the most common diseases in the world.

Full Story >>

College blues? Turn to mindfulness

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 16:35 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 21 (ANI): Heading off to college? A recent study has suggested that mindfulness may help freshmen stress less and smile more.

Full Story >>

Did you know hearing tests fail to diagnose hearing loss?

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 10:57 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], April 21 (ANI): A team of US researchers has revealed that the traditional clinical hearing tests often fail to diagnose patients with a common form of inner ear damage, which otherwise might be detected by some behavioural tests.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], April 21 (ANI): Canadian researchers have found that people with multiple sclerosis start showing symptoms of something wrong, five years before the onset of disease.

Full Story >>

Lifelong learning may turn clock back on your aging brain

Updated: Apr 20, 2017 23:17 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 20 (ANI): You may want to stimulate your brain in early life as a recent study has found that it may help stay mentally healthy in older age.

Full Story >>