Thyroid cancer has become a global issue

The 2010 Canadian Cancer Statistics Report shows that thyroid cancer has gone up 9.5 percent per year in the country's females and 6.8 percent per year in males since 1998. Similar increases have also been seen in some regions of the U.S., according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

About 5,200 Canadians - 4,100 women and 1,050 men - will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer this year, the report said. The most recent data on mortality says that 146 Canadians died from the disease in 2005.

Dr Roger Tabah, a surgical oncologist at the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, told the news source that research is still being done into thyroid cancer, but causes include heredity and low doses of ionizing radiation.

"In the 1940s and 1950s, radiation was kind of the soup de jour and a lot of dermatology offices had X-ray machines," he said, noting that acne and tonsillitis were being treated with radiation.

He even recalled a shoe store chain that had an X-ray type of machine which was used as a sales gimmick. It was used to show parents how well shoes would fit their children.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 19,500 thyroid cancer diagnoses in the U.S. annually.