Ancient Cultures Didn’t Get Cancer;
Here’s What We Can Learn from Them


Scientists Discover That Ancient Cultures Didn't Get Cancerthere are many powerful, effective natural remedies for inflammation and pain that can help the holistically minded avoid medication and actually work to heal the underlying root cause. photo: marazem

Cancer is, in so many ways, a modern disease. Before the Industrial Revolution, it was virtually non-existent. Sure, cases would pop up here and there, but it was at best a tiny fraction of what it has become today. Some argue that this is due to the lack of sophisticated diagnostic technologies that we have today that make it easy for doctors to find and identify cancer, but that’s actually not the case.

Archaeologists and researchers regularly analyze mummies, fossils, physician records and other human tissue artifacts for traces of cancer using modern technology and come up empty-handed in over 99% of cases.

Dr. Michael Zimmerman, a medical doctor, paleopathologist and visiting professor at Manchester University, states that: “In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases… The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer-causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization.”

Professor Zimmerman and his colleague Rosalie David reached this conclusion after analyzing references to cancer in classical literature and scrutinizing potential signs in mummified bodies and fossil records. Despite testing and dissecting hundreds of tissue samples from Egyptian mummies, only one case of cancer has been verified.

And, for any skeptics out there, mummification has been show in laboratory experiments to actually preserve tumors and cancerous tissues even better than healthy tissue, making it even easier to identify if present.

Another argument put forth by skeptics is that ancient Egyptians, due to the shorter lifespans at the time, didn’t live long enough to develop cancer. However, the researchers point out that other age-related diseases, such as hardening of the arteries and brittle bones, did occur, which rules out age-related theories of Paleolithic cancer development.

Furthermore, fossil evidence of cancer is also rare: a survey of existing scientific literature, from the journal Nature Reviews Cancer, provided only a few dozen examples of cancer in animal fossils, most of which were highly controversial and openly disputed. On top of that, thousands of Neanderthal bones have been studied in recent decades with only one providing an example of possible cancer, with emphasis on the word possible.

Cancer: The Modern Disease

The case in point is that cancer in pre-industrial times is extremely rare at best. So what then, accounts for the dramatic uptick in cancers in the last few hundred years?


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Professor Rosalie David, who, as mentioned, conducted much of the research into historical incidences of cancer, stated the following at a recent oncologists’ conference:

“In industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death. But in ancient times, it was extremely rare.”

“There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer. So it has to be a man-made disease, down to pollution and changes to our diet and lifestyle.”

“The important thing about our study is that it gives a historical perspective to this disease. We can make very clear statements on the cancer rates in societies because we have a full overview. We have looked at millennia, not one hundred years, and have masses of data.”

“Yet again, extensive ancient Egyptian data, along with other data from across the millennia, has given modern society a clear message—cancer is man-made and something that we can and should address.”

What We Can Learn From Ancient Cultures About Cancer: The Key Differences in How We Live Now vs. Then

When considering what has changed pre- and post-Industrial Revolution that could be causing much of the increase in cancer, there are a few key things that jump out—all of which have substantial research showing a partial or causal relationship to cancer.

1. Pollution: Toxins, Chemicals, Radiation, Pesticides and Heavy Metals

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that these things are bad for our health—any type of container transporting them is required by law to have a proverbial skull and crossbones on them, and there is copious research demonstrating that the vast majority of these substances are extremely toxic and deadly. Even though most of us aren’t exposed to large amounts at one time, the problem is that we are consistently exposed to small amounts, which adds up.

It’s no secret that we are exposed to an endless stream of chemicals and toxins these days, from pesticides and chemical sprays in the foods we eat, to exhaust fumes and particulates in the air we breathe, to off-gassing from paints in our houses, to heavy metals in the pipes that feed water into our homes, to synthetics in our skin and body care products and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the packaging that delivers our food. The body is under assault from toxins like never before in human history, and it is believed by many doctors, researchers and holistic physicians that these are in large part the biggest contributors to cancer that exist. Overtime, they accumulate in the body and its tissues and organs and wear away at health, eventually causing genetic mutations that lead to cancerous cells.

But all hope is not lost. It is possible to rid the body of these toxins through regular detoxification practices. Thankfully, there are many natural products that work to actively and powerfully remove chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides and other synthetic substances from the body. For more information on that topic, check out the articles we’ve published by some of the world’s top detoxification experts here, here, here and here.

2. Eating Processed, Nutritionless Foods

In addition to generally being loaded with cancer-causing chemicals, pesticides and synthetic ingredients, eating highly processed foods throws a wrench in the fine-tuned biological machine that is our body. Eating sugary, flavor-enhanced, refined foods leads to all kinds of problems like diabetes, obesity, inflammation, allergies, immune problems, chronic nutrient deficiencies and depression, which have all been shown to raise the risk of cancer significantly. Before the Industrial Revolution, aside from white rice, there was no such thing as processed foods. Everything was organic by default; synthetic pesticides, chemicals and preservatives just didn’t exist. To eat like that today, you’ll need to start shopping at a health food store or the farmer’s market. You are also able to find wholesome, organic foods online as well.

“Scientists now say a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent about a third of the most common cancers…” comments Dr. Rachel Thompson of the World Cancer Research Fund. “So perhaps our ancestors’ lifestyle reduced their risk from cancer.”

Which brings us to risk factor #3.

3. Lack of Physical Exercise

With the advent of cars, computers and door-to-door shipping, physical exercise has been on the decline for decades. Need I say more? It’s no secret that exercise is not only good for you but also a highly cancer-preventative activity. Even the simple act of walking activates countless health-promoting systems within our bodies that lie dormant if we are too sedentary. Most experts agree that as little as five to fifteen minutes of movement per day is enough to dramatically lower the risk of most cancers. It’s an easy win to boost your health—just try and stay away from roads and high-pollution areas when engaging in strenuous exercise, as this can actually increase the intake of toxins from various forms of air pollution.

4. Electromagnetic Fields and Radiation (EMF/EMR)

In the last few decades, we have seen a rapid rise in EMF- and EMR-emitting technologies like cell phones, Wi-Fi signals, televisions, microwaves and more. Essentially, anything that runs on electricity emits some level of electromagnetic field and radiation. While it poses little to no health risk in occasional, small amounts, in sustained, high doses it can and does create a number of problems in the body that can greatly raise your risk for cancer. Sustained and/or high-dose EMF and EMR exposure can cause inflammation, disrupted hormonal and cellular function, interruption in nerve signaling, blood clotting, DNA damage and more.

If you think you are not being exposed to things, think again. Do you have a cell phone near you most of the day? Does your office or house have Wi-Fi? Do your neighbors have Wi-Fi? Do you live near power lines or cell towers? All of these emit varying levels of EMF and EMR, with fields that can be measured from a few feet (in the case of cell phones) to a few hundred feet (in the case of Wi-Fi signals). As I am writing this, there are at least ten Wi-Fi networks available at my computer, which means I am being exposed to ten Wi-Fi-generated electromagnetic fields of varying intensity in this very moment. I live in a suburban area with copious amounts of nature; in a city, it can be hundreds of times worse. Without realizing it, most of us are literally swimming in electromagnetic fields 24/7, and there is a very high correlation between the recent upsurge in exposure to EMFs and EMRs in the last few decades and cancer rates. Furthermore, there have been a number of well-researched studies that do show clear links between exposure to EMF- and EMR-emitting devices and increased risks for cancer.

In her seminal book on the dangers of EMF’s, Zapped, researcher and health advocate Ann Louise Gittleman reports that:

One of the first studies linking magnetic fields from power lines to adverse effects on human health was published in 1979 by two Denver researchers, the late Nancy Wertheimer, Ph.D., and physicist Ed Leeper. Based on Wertheimer’s field studies of childhood cancers in the Denver-Boulder area, the two reported that children who lived one or two houses from what are called step-down transformers (the barrel-shaped devices mounted on the power poles in your neighborhood) had a two-to-three-fold increase in childhood cancers, specifically leukemia and brain tumors. In 1986, a similar study conducted at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, confirmed their findings.

Although a number of studies done since have disputed the leukemia-EMF link, there have been at least 30 studies not only confirming the original 1979 work, but expanding on it to associate transmission power lines, hair dryers, common household appliances, video games, and microwave ovens to children’s cancers.

In fact, David Carpenter, M.D., dean of the School of Public Health at the State University of New York, has been quoted as saying that he believes up to 30% of childhood cancers stem from EMF exposure. And it doesn’t take much. In several of these studies, the risk was elevated when children lived near magnetic fields that were 1,000  times lower than the existing safe exposure limit established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.

Since the Leeper-Wertheimer study, hundreds of studies have found that exposure to magnetic fields (EMFs) may be associated with a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), heart disease, miscarriage, birth defects, infertility, and mood disturbances such as depression.

In 2006, a study of the cell phone habits of 900 people with brain tumors, conducted by the Swedish National Institute for Working Life, found that those who used cell phones for 2,000 cumulative hours had a 240% increased risk for a malignant tumor on the side of the head where they usually held the phone. Two years later, Israeli researchers found that those people who kept their cell phone against one side of their head for several hours a day were 50% more likely to develop a rare salivary gland tumor on that side

I don’t want to paint a picture of doom and gloom here, as we are a solutions-focused publication; but it’s something to consider. Try using speakerphone instead of holding your cell phone directly up to your head and exposing your brain to strong EMF fields. Turn off your router, phone and other electronics when you are not using them and investigate special shielding technologies, which are widely available, and can help offset many of the risks of electromagnetic fields. And finally, get out into nature as much as possible as this can help mitigate the effects of EMFs greatly, as outlined in the next section.

5. Losing Touch with Nature

As it should be clear by now, our health suffers the further we move away from nature, but the opposite is also true: the closer we align ourselves and our lifestyles with natural rhythms, the better our health becomes.

Take for example, the act of earthing or grounding—that is, walking on the earth with your bare feet or touching your bare skin to the earth in some way. A number of studies have shown that this practice has remarkable health benefits and mitigates many of the negative effects of being exposed to EMF/EMR. The reason EMFs are harmful is that electronics emit ionizing radiation, causing harmful positive ions to accumulate in the body, which causes inflammation and disrupts cellular functioning in a number of ways. Being in nature, however, saturates the body with negative ions as the earth itself, and most plants, emit a continuous stream of these health-boosting particles, which counter many of the effects of EMF/EMR. Negative ions reduce inflammation, act as cellular antioxidants and work to neutralize much of the negative effects of positive ions. Regularly spending time in nature saturates the body with negative ions and helps discharge the static buildup of positive ions in your system.

Another extremely important reason to get out into nature, especially as it relates to cancer, is to get exposure to light from the sun. Quite a bit of research has been published over the past few decades showing a high correlation between low levels of Vitamin D3 and higher incidences of cancer, and the main source of Vitamin D3 is from exposure to the sun. When ultraviolet rays from the sun hit your skin, it causes a series of chemical reactions that stimulates your body to produce Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is almost impossible to get from diet alone. Outside of nutritional supplementation, the only way to get it is from exposure to the sun. While supplements can and do help, there are other benefits your body derives from being in the sun.

Regular exposure to the light of the sun causes the optic nerve in your eyes to stimulate the pineal gland, which it is directly connected to. The pineal gland is often referred to as the master gland in the body in that its hormonal secretions control and influence virtually all body processes directly or indirectly. Of the many hormones that it secretes, one of the most important on a number of levels and particularly in relation to cancer is melatonin.

Melatonin has been shown in a number of studies to help reduce the risk of developing cancer in the first place and the malignancy of existing cancers. Melatonin regulates levels of estrogen and human growth hormone in the body, two critical hormones in the cancer-fighting process, and it has been found to have epigenetic influences that can help to repair DNA damage that can lead to and perpetuate cancer cells.

Furthermore, it controls our circadian rhythm and helps you sleep more deeply and soundly; it is a powerful antioxidant, boosting the immune system; and it has anti-inflammatory properties, all of which work to lower the risk of developing cancer.

Higher levels of pineal gland function—and hence melatonin secretion—are associated with spending adequate amounts of time in or exposed to sunlight daily, helping to reduce the risk of cancer as a result. However, with computer, TV and cell phone usage at an all-time high, as well as the propensity to work indoors and in cities with little natural light, our pineal glands and melatonin levels have suffered, which is likely a contributing factor in the widespread increase in cancer in recent years.

That’s not to say that you need to avoid using screens altogether—just that you need to make a point to get natural light and, ideally, bright midday sun as regularly as possible. Also, avoid using backlit screens late at night or within an hour of bedtime if you have trouble sleeping or if you want to get the maximum melatonin boost possible.

While there are other factors that contribute to the disease, such as stress levels and your overarching emotional and mental health, these five factors make up the lion’s share of risk factors for developing cancer, according to the research.

In many ways, the health technology of the future is not some new drug or treatment, it’s simply returning to the past and living more like our ancestors did—in closer harmony and synergy with nature.

About The Author

Justin Faerman is a visionary change-agent, international speaker, serial entrepreneur and consciousness researcher dedicated to evolving global consciousness, bridging science and spirituality and spreading enlightened ideas on both an individual and societal level. He is the co-founder of Conscious Lifestyle Magazine and the Flow Consciousness Institute and a sought after teacher, known for his pioneering work in the area of flow and the mechanics of consciousness. He has a diverse entrepreneurial background that includes pioneering exponential growth at green tech companies and building some of the world’s top conscious media publishing platforms reaching millions of people worldwide. His current work is largely focused on creating disruptive, paradigm shifting technologies and teaching platforms that integrate the best of both scientific and spiritual insights into the nature of reality and human consciousness with the end goal being of helping people to create socially impactful, deeply fulfilling and prosperous lives and businesses. Justin currently travels the world holding talks, trainings and workshops on the art of living in flow consciousness, merging intuition and business and conducting deep research into the practical applications of consciousness enhancing, psychospiritual technologies. Learn more about his work at

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