First Date’s barman Merlin shares that he has cancer

·2-min read
First Date’s barman Merlin shares that he has cancer

Merlin Griffiths, best known as the friendly barman on First Dates, has opened up about his recent bowel cancer diagnosis.

The 46-year-old explained that he was diagnosed with a Stage 3 tumour six weeks ago and that he has a 75% chance of living beyond five years, but that he "won't let it get the better of [him]".

Recalling the heartbreaking moment he told his 7-year-old daughter, Alix, Merlin said to The Mirror, "I said, 'Dad’s got cancer' [and] she said, 'Is that bad, Dad?' [and] I said, 'Yes, it’s very serious but I think it should be OK. Modern medicine’s great and if anything changes I’ll let you know'."

He added, "She understands that people can die but I told her cancer comes in different varieties and in different ways too – and that many people come through it."

Now, Merlin is keen to raise awareness of the disease in the hopes of helping others receive an earlier diagnosis, which can be vital in terms of prognosis. He will be appearing on Stand Up To Cancer Live next month.

Initially, the barman (who also owns a pub in Leicestershire) said he thought the pains in his stomach were due to old scar tissue from a car accident that he was in some twenty years ago, but that after experiencing bloating, nausea and a change in bowel habits too, he visited A&E. It was shortly after that doctors discovered a malignant 4.5cm Stage 3 tumour.

"I was living with this huge discomfort," the father-of-one said. "It felt like a walnut stuck inside me." He added that he is only looking at reputable health sites, such as Macmillan Cancer Support and the NHS', in order to get more information about his condition.

"My oncologist said, 'Your five-year outlook is 75% [chance of survival], but we aim to cure'... Obviously that’s a lot lower than I’d want but I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country, which is just so incredible," Merlin also shared.

Recalling how he has processed the news, the barman said, "It’s terrifying – of course I want to live. I’ve shed a tear in private. But you can choose 'to do' or 'not to do' [and] I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one [foot] in front of the other."

After sharing the difficult diagnosis with his family, Merlin then said he called some of his closest friends including First Dates host Fred Sirieix, who he describes as being "lovely and encouraging".

Merlin is currently undergoing chemotherapy and we wish him all the very best moving forward.

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