Plague wasn't the only disease that afflicted medieval Britons. Cancer did, too

A human vertebra dating back to medieval times shows evidence of cancer metastases.

(CNN)The earliest description of cancer is from an ancient Egyptian papyrus, and going back further, even dinosaurs suffered a form of the disease. But cancer long has been thought to have become a common disease only in the last two centuries or so.

This is, in part, down to longer life expectancies, habits like smoking, and exposure to tumor-inducing chemicals post-industrial revolution.
However, new research published in the journal Cancer on medieval skeletons has suggested that cancer was more widespread than previously realized -- although still less common than today.
    In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom analyzed 143 skeletons from six cemeteries from the Cambridge area that were dated to between the sixth and 16th centuries. To detect malignant lesions, the team focused on three areas most likely to contain secondary malignant growth in people with cancer -- the spinal column, pelvis and thigh bone.
      The scientists visually insp