Ancient Egyptians Performed Brain Surgery to Treat Cancer

3 Min Read

A recent discovery has astonished archaeological researchers who found cut marks around cancerous areas on an ancient Egyptian skull, providing new insights into how ancient Egyptians might have treated cancer.

This finding serves as unique evidence that ancient societies attempted to explore and perform surgeries for cancer thousands of years ago.

According to the website “Frontier,” ancient texts indicate that the Egyptians were exceptionally skilled in medicine. They were capable of diagnosing, describing, and treating various diseases and injuries, constructing prosthetic limbs, and creating dental fillings. While they could not cure cancer, it appears they made attempts to treat it.

An international team of researchers has now studied two human skulls, each thousands of years old, to examine the boundaries of trauma and tumor treatments in ancient Egypt.

Tatiana Tundini, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and the lead author of the study published in the journal “Frontiers,” stated: “We see that although the ancient Egyptians could handle complex skull fractures, cancer still represented a limit to their medical knowledge.”

The study’s principal author, Professor Edgard Camarós, a paleontologist at the University of Santiago de Compostela, added: “This discovery is unique evidence of how ancient Egyptian medicine attempted to address or explore cancer over 4,000 years ago. It offers an extraordinary new perspective on our understanding of medical history.”

Tundini explained: “We wanted to understand the role of cancer in the past, its prevalence in ancient times, and how ancient societies interacted with the disease.” To achieve this, researchers examined two skulls from the Duckworth Collection at the University of Cambridge.

Microscopic examination of the skulls revealed a large lesion consistent with excessive tissue destruction, known as a tumor. Additionally, there were approximately 30 small, round lesions scattered across the skull.

What astonished researchers was the discovery of cut marks around these lesions, likely made with a sharp tool, such as a metal instrument. Tundini remarked: “When we first observed the cut marks under the microscope, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing.”

Co-author Professor Albert Isidro, a surgical oncologist at the University of California, clarified: “It appears that the ancient Egyptians performed some form of surgical intervention related to the presence of cancerous cells, demonstrating that ancient Egyptian medicine also engaged in experimental treatments or medical explorations concerning cancer.”

This remarkable find enriches our understanding of the sophistication of ancient Egyptian medical practices and their approaches to treating severe diseases such as cancer.


Share this Article