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First Dates' Merlin Griffiths shares bowel cancer diagnosis

·2 min read
Photo credit: Dave King/Channel 4
Photo credit: Dave King/Channel 4

First Dates star Merlin Griffiths has revealed he has been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Merlin, 46, who is recognised as the bartender who helps couples break the ice as they meet on the Channel 4 show, was diagnosed with a Stage 3 tumour six weeks ago.

The barman and father-of-one has been told by doctors he has a 75 per cent chance of living beyond five years, reports the The Mirror.

But the Channel 4 star said: "I won't let it get the better of me."

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

Related: First Dates' Laura Tott announces engagement after leaving the show

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Merlin described the moment he had to explain his diagnosis to his seven-year-old daughter Alix.

He recalled: "I said, 'Dad's got cancer'. She said, 'Is that bad, Dad?'

"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.

Photo credit: E4
Photo credit: E4

 

Related: First Dates Hotel paired up two people who already knew each other again

"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," he continued.

Merlin revealed that he started getting pain in June this year, but thought it was caused by scar tissue in his stomach from a car accident when he was 20.

Doctors however, found a 4.5cm Stage 3 tumour, which he describes as "looking like an alien".

Merlin continued: "I thought, as most people must when they get a diagnosis, 'Oh f***, I've got cancer'.

"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."

He has been a mixologist and bartender for more than 20 years. And while Merlin may be known for working in the First Dates restaurant, his day job finds him owner of his own bar and restaurant, The Priory Tavern, located in Kilburn, north-west London. 

According to the Mirror, Merlin is a private person who keeps his family and work life separate, but has made the decision to tell the world about his illness before he appears next month on Stand Up to Cancer Live.

Watch: First Dates - 33-year-old man horrified by woman telling him he looks 52

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