First Dates star Merlin Griffiths shares health update on bowel cancer journey

Merlin Griffiths has opened up on his bowel cancer journey, explaining that despite undergoing two operations and chemotherapy he is still living with the disease.

The 47 year old was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in September 2021 and has been updating his fans regularly ever since the devastating news.

Despite undergoing treatments, the First Dates star has now revealed he's still living with the disease, explaining that having surgery to remove a tumour "doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you are cancer free".

Speaking to The Sun, he shared: "They used to call it remission, now they call it NED, which means no evidence of disease.

“So NED happens after five years for bowel cancer. Now it’s a five year ongoing process before they are willing to say alright, yeah, you’re about as safe as you can be.”

He went on to explain that he'll continue getting regular check ups and after 10 years he'll be taken "off the list".

“If there’s no recurrence of disease after ten years, then you are technically cured," he added to the publication.

The Channel 4 star now has a stoma and is waiting to undergo his third operation this year.

Merlin said that there's a 30 per cent chance his cancer will return, but added that his "disease free survival rate is 70 per cent, more or less".

The barman announced his stage 3 bowel cancer diagnoses back in September 2021, but vowed not to let the disease "get the better of him."

Merlin began to feel pain in June of the same year but assumed it was caused by scar tissue he already had, due to a car accident he was in aged 20. After further investigation, doctors discovered Merlin had a 4.5cm stage 3 tumour.

"I thought, as most people must when they get a diagnosis, ‘Oh f***, I’ve got cancer’" Merlin revealed to the Sunday Mirror.

He added: “I also wanted to know, what are my chances of surviving? 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’. 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.”

Merlin has come through the other end with the support of his daughter Alix, wife Lucile, as well as his First Dates pals, including Fred Sirieix and Cici Coleman.

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