The researchers subjected the mummy to powerful Multi Detector Computerized Tomography (MDCT) scans. The specially designed protocol produced "really unusual high quality images," Prates told Discovery News.
Digital X-rays showed that M1 had been buried with crossed arms (a common pose in Ptolemaic mummies, although in the New Kingdom it was often associated with royals) and suffered from lumbosacral osteoarthritis, which was probably related to a lower lumbar scoliosis.
HOWSTUFFWORKS: Prostate Cancer In-Depth
Several post-mortem fractures, possibly produced by mishandling when the mummy was transported to Europe, afflicted the body.
But that wasn't all they found. A pattern of round and dense tumors, measuring between 0.03 and 0.59 inches, interspersed M1's pelvis and lumbar spine. "The bone lesions were considered very suggestive of metastatic prostate cancer," wrote the researchers.
Indeed, prostatic carcinoma typically spreads to the pelvic region, the lumbar spine, the upper arm and leg bones, the ribs, ultimately reaching most of the skeleton. Prates and colleagues considered other diseases as alternatives. But M1's sex, age, the distribution pattern of the lesions, their shape and density, strongly argued for prostate cancer.