SA woke up to the sad news of the passing of the veteran radio personality Xolani Gwala Picture: Paballo Thekiso

South Africans woke up to the sad news of the passing of the veteran radio personality Xolani Gwala, 44, who died after a lengthy battle with cancer.

In September 2017, Gwala spoke about being diagnosed with colon cancer during an interview on 702. 

At the time, he disclosed that the cancer "quite advanced". 

After being off air for a few months, the popular personality managed to combat the disease, returning to the airwaves in August of 2018, and during an on-air interview with Azania Mosaka, said he was doing "very, very good."

According to World Cancer Research Fund, there were an estimated 18 million cancer cases around the world in 2018. Of these 9.5 million cases were in men and 8.5 million in women. The most common cancers globally are listed in the table below.

Lung cancer was the most common cancer in men worldwide, contributing 15.5 percent of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2018.

The top three – lung, prostate and colorectal (colon) cancers – contributed 44.4 percent of all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer).

Other common cancers contributing more than five percent were stomach and liver.

Colon Cancer Coalition organization say both men and women are equally at risk for colon cancer. The cancer is most common among people aged 50 and older but can occur in patients as young as teenagers. 

Over 75 percent of colon and rectal cancers happen to people with no known risk factors, which is why regular screening is so important. A personal or family history of colon cancer or colon polyps can increase the risk of developing colon cancer.

Here are some other ways to help reduce your risk:

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains from breads, cereals, nuts and beans.
  • Eat a low-fat diet.
  • Eat foods with folate such as kale, Swiss chard and other dark leafy green vegetables.
  • Take a daily multivitamin that contains 0.4 mg of folic acid.
  • Stop using tobacco products. If you don’t use tobacco products, don’t start.
  • Engage in moderate exercise such as walking, gardening, or climbing steps for at least 20 minutes three to four times a week.