MAFS star opens up on cancer misdiagnosis: 'I couldn't eat and lost a stone'

Mel Schilling received two misdiagnoses before she got the news that she had stage three colon cancer, she told OK! in an exclusive interview.

The Married At First Sight love expert, 52, who is a fixture on both the UK and Aussie formats, endured stomach pain, weight loss and reduced appetite as a result of her cancer before she finally got her diagnosis, after doctors initially told her it was down to constipation.

Explaining her symptoms before her cancer was confirmed, Mel told us: "The last quarter of 2023, I was in Australia filming MAFS and there was a crossover with filming in the UK so I had to fly back and forth.

Mel Schilling pink dress at home
Mel Schilling was told by two doctors her symptoms were down to constipation -Credit:David Cummings

"That was hard because it’s a long flight, so you’ve got the tiredness and the jet lag – and I’m 52! My body was complaining about all the long-haul flights and I thought that’s all it was."

But then, Mel said, her "digestive system packed to a halt" and she started experiencing stomach pain.

“I wasn’t paying attention to my body because I was so busy. I’m a big foodie and I noticed something was really wrong when I couldn’t eat anything or even hold down a cup of tea," she continued.

"Once I got home, I realised I hadn’t eaten anything in around a week and I hadn’t been to the toilet in three weeks. I’d lost over a stone in weight and I was on a liquid diet by this point.

Mel Schilling
She's a firm fixture on MAFS UK and Australia -Credit:No credit

"I wasn’t even aware of how much I had lost, so things were serious. But I never thought it would be cancer.”

She then saw a gastroenterologist, who found the 5cm tumour via CT scan in her colon.

And Mel, who posed with husband Gareth, 51, and nine-year-old daughter Maddie for the at-home photoshoot, told us she's keen to spread the word and use her platform to raise awareness.

"As horrible as it has been, and it is – let’s not sugarcoat it – a tough call, there is some sense of purpose, I guess. I’ve realised that I do have a platform and while it’s lots of fun to use it for entertainment purposes, I also get to use it to raise awareness. Since I’ve been diagnosed I’ve connected with a lot of charities and I’ve learnt so much.”

Mel Schilling, daughter and husband Gareth
She describes her husband Gareth as "a rock" to her -Credit:David Cummings

In terms of treatment, Mel had keyhole surgery to remove the tumour which was a success, and is currently going through a course of chemotherapy.

By her side she has her gorgeous family - and hubby Gareth has been a real rock to her, she said.

“He’s gone through his own tough year as he’s had grief in his life, but has still been there for me. It really does feel like a team, I can open up and be honest about how I’m feeling and we make adjustments at home to match that."