First Dates’ barman Merlin Griffiths reveals he’s been diagnosed with bowel cancer

First Dates’ barman Merlin Griffiths has revealed he is battling bowel cancer after receiving a bleak diagnosis from doctors at Northampton General Hospital. 

The 46-year-old was told he has a 75% chance of living for more than five years after medical tests unearthed a stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length.   

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Merlin said: ‘I’m keeping that positive outlook, but I’ve a morbid sense of humour. I tell people, “I have colorectal cancer… it’s a real pain in the ar*e!”

Shock: First Dates' barman Merlin Griffiths has revealed he is battling bowel cancer after recieving a bleak diagnosis from doctors

Shock: First Dates' barman Merlin Griffiths has revealed he is battling bowel cancer after recieving a bleak diagnosis from doctors

Shock: First Dates’ barman Merlin Griffiths has revealed he is battling bowel cancer after recieving a bleak diagnosis from doctors

Merlin has a seven-year-old daughter called Alix with his partner Lucille, 40, who he has been with for more than a decade and will be by his side as he faces a year of life-saving treatment. 

When the barman told his young daughter of the troubling diagnosis he reassured her of the powers of modern medicine and gushed about the public healthcare system. 

He said: ‘I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country, which is just so incredible.’ 

Keeping his emotions behind closed doors, Merlin admitted: ‘I’ve shed a tear in private. But you can choose “to do” or “not to do”. I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one step in front of the other.’

Survival: The 46-year-old was told he has a 75% chance of living for more than five years after medical tests unearthed a stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length

Survival: The 46-year-old was told he has a 75% chance of living for more than five years after medical tests unearthed a stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length

Survival: The 46-year-old was told he has a 75% chance of living for more than five years after medical tests unearthed a stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length

The TV personality, who became a household name alongside Fred Sirieix in the First Dates restaurant, started to feel pain in June but thought it was caused by an old stomach injury from a car accident in his 20s.

Merlin was diagnosed with bowel cancer six weeks ago and said his tumour looked like an alien and felt like a walnut stuck inside of him. 

Doctors discovered the tumour when they gave the barman an emergency sigmoidoscopy to probe his lower intestine after the star spent three months telling people he felt something wrong in his body. 

Merlin admitted he was terrified by the ordeal but immediately focused on his chances of survival following his diagnosis.  

'I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country': Merlin said he was remaining optimistic as he gushed about the public health service

'I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country': Merlin said he was remaining optimistic as he gushed about the public health service

‘I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country’: Merlin said he was remaining optimistic as he gushed about the public health service 

The star revealed that his tumour wanted to move into the tissue surrounding it but wasn’t ‘lymph’ – meaning the cancer thankfully hadn’t spread.  

Merlin told his co-workers in the First Dates restaurant, including maitre d’hotel Fred Sirieix, and waiters Grant Urquhart and CiCi Coleman, about his diagnosis just a week after he told his family.  

The barman admitted his peers were shocked and couldn’t help but question why bad things happen to good people. 

He is still determined to film the upcoming series of First Dates alongside his co-stars later this year, with strict coronavirus measures and a room to shield in. 

Close: Merlin told his co-workers in the First Dates restaurant about his diagnosis just a week after he told his family (pictured: Fiona Beck, Grant Urquhart, Daniella Kalita, Fred Sirieix, David, Cici Coleman and Merlin on the show)

Close: Merlin told his co-workers in the First Dates restaurant about his diagnosis just a week after he told his family (pictured: Fiona Beck, Grant Urquhart, Daniella Kalita, Fred Sirieix, David, Cici Coleman and Merlin on the show)

Close: Merlin told his co-workers in the First Dates restaurant about his diagnosis just a week after he told his family (pictured: Fiona Beck, Grant Urquhart, Daniella Kalita, Fred Sirieix, David, Cici Coleman and Merlin on the show) 

Merlin will appear on Channel 4’s Stand Up To Cancer Live show next month to talk about fighting the disease and urge others with cancer worries to go to the doctor. 

His oncologist hopes to remove his tumour in three months time, after which he will continue with other life-saving treatment. 

The star is maintaining an optimistic outlook on the diagnosis and said his morbid sense of humour is helping him through the troubling time.  

Strong: He is still determined to film the upcoming series of First Dates alongside his co-stars later this year, with strict coronavirus measures and a room to shield in (pictured with friends CiCi, Tom Read Wilson, Rylan Clark Neal and Scarlett Moffatt in Brighton in 2019)

Strong: He is still determined to film the upcoming series of First Dates alongside his co-stars later this year, with strict coronavirus measures and a room to shield in (pictured with friends CiCi, Tom Read Wilson, Rylan Clark Neal and Scarlett Moffatt in Brighton in 2019)

Strong: He is still determined to film the upcoming series of First Dates alongside his co-stars later this year, with strict coronavirus measures and a room to shield in (pictured with friends CiCi, Tom Read Wilson, Rylan Clark Neal and Scarlett Moffatt in Brighton in 2019) 

BOWEL CANCER: THE SYMPTOMS YOU SHOULDN’T IGNORE 

Bowel, or colorectal, cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.

Such tumours usually develop from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps.

Symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from the bottom
  • Blood in stools
  • A change in bowel habits lasting at least three weeks
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme, unexplained tiredness
  • Abdominal pain

Most cases have no clear cause, however, people are more at risk if they: 

  • Are over 50
  • Have a family history of the condition
  • Have a personal history of polyps in their bowel
  • Suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
  • Lead an unhealthy lifestyle  

Treatment usually involves surgery, and chemo- and radiotherapy.

More than nine out of 10 people with stage one bowel cancer survive five years or more after their diagnosis.

This drops significantly if it is diagnosed in later stages. 

According to Bowel Cancer UK figures, more than 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK. 

It affects around 40 per 100,000 adults per year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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