Your genes are prehistoric and cancer is too. This disease is often blamed on modern pollution, but a new discovery of ancient royal burial site in Russia reveals that prehistoric people were victims of this disease as well.

Two skeletons were found, both 27,000 years old and dressed in royal clothes. The male skeleton showed evidence of extensive prostate cancer, which had spread throughout his body. But while evidence of ancient cancers exists, it’s rare, leading to the conclusion that modern bad habits may be behind the proliferation of the disease today.

In the December 28th edition of the New York Times, George Johnson quotes researcher Robert A. Weinberg as saying, "There is no reason to think that cancer is a new disease. In former times, it was less common because people were struck down in midlife by other things. If we lived long enough, sooner or later we all would get cancer."

He quotes researchers A. Rosalie David and Michael R. Zimmerman as saying, "The rarity of cancer in antiquity suggests that such factors are limited to societies that are affected by modern lifestyle issues such as tobacco use and pollution resulting from industrialization."

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