Inside Merlin Griffith’s battle with bowel cancer after major operation


A BELOVED beloved First Dates star has opened up about a major operation in his battle with bowel cancer.

Merlin Griffiths, best known as the barman on the hit show, first revealed he had the disease in August 2021.


Merlin shared a selfie from his hospital bed earlier this week as he thanked the NHS for saving his life

He described the tumour as like a walnut stuck inside him, adding it looked like an alien.

This week the 47-year-old told how he had a stoma bag fitted as part of his treatment, eight months on from the diagnosis.

He explained he had been allowed home after six days in hospital following robotic surgery.

A stoma is when the end of your bowel is brought out into an opening on your stomach.

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Sometimes this is done as a temporary measure, to allow the bowel to heal after surgery, and it’s closed after a few months.

But often the procedure is permanent, and means the patient needs to always wear a small bag stuck onto the skin to collect waste.

After he was allowed to go home, Merlin wrote on Instagram: “And breathe.

“6 days, start to finish. Now for real #cancer recovery. I’ve had open laparotomies before and the recovery was 6 weeks in hospital before robotic surgery!! Amazing. nhs #davincisurgicalsystem #bowelcancerawarenessmonth #stoma”

When he was diagnosed in September, doctors told Merlin he has a 75 per cent chance of living beyond five years back.

He said he had started to notice pain in his stomach, which he thought was because of a car accident that happened when he was 20.

But he now knows that was a symptom of the cancer, as doctors went on to find a 4.5cm Stage 3 tumour.

Medics gave him an emergency sigmoidoscopy in his lower intestine, after he’d felt something was wrong for three months.

At the time he told the Sunday Mirror: “I won’t let it get the better of me.”

“The tumour has breached the colon. It’s wanting to move into the tissues surrounding it.

“But importantly, it hasn’t got into the lymph yet, meaning it’s not spread.”

Bowel cancer is the UK’s fourth most common cancer and the second deadliest.

Every 15 minutes someone is diagnosed with bowel cancer. That’s nearly 43,000 people every year, nearly 120 people every day.

Fewer than one in ten people survive bowel cancer if it’s picked up at stage 4, but detected quickly – at stage 1 – more than nine in ten patients will live five years or longer.

Being aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer, spotting any changes and going to your doctor is vital.

If you notice any of the signs, don’t be embarrassed and make sure you speak to your GP.

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  • Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  • A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  • Pain or a lump in your tummy
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Losing weight

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • Gripping pains in the abdomen
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Being sick
  • Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you’ve been to the loo
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As with any cancer, it’s vital to get a diagnosis as soon as possible, for the best chance of survival.

The NHS says: “See a GP if you have any of the symptoms of bowel cancer for three weeks or more.”

The First Dates star has revealed more about his bowel cancer journey


The First Dates star has revealed more about his bowel cancer journeyCredit: Instagram

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