Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2002. However, today he is feeling well and releasing a cookbook.
"I was fortunate in that I had the papillary form," Ebert told USA Today. "It's very slow-growing and about 95 percent of people with it recover completely."
People exposed to high levels of radiation are much more likely than others to develop papillary or follicular thyroid cancer, and X-ray radioactivity is a common contributor, the news source reports.
"I had radiation for an ear infection in the fifties," Ebert told the media outlet. "At that time it was still common to treat acne, earaches and other head and neck problems with high levels of radiation we now know are dangerous."
As a way of coping with his illness, Ebert began cooking more frequently, Tonic reports. He become very fond of using his rice cooker because it allowed him to make soft foods after his surgery.
"To be sure, health problems have prevented me from eating," Ebert writes in his book, The Pot and How to Use It. "That did not discourage my cooking. It became an exercise more pure, freed of biological compulsion."
According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 19,500 thyroid cancer diagnoses in the U.S. annually.