First Dates star Merlin Griffiths has been diagnosed with bowel cancer
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First Dates star Merlin Griffiths reveals bowel cancer diagnosis and sensitive conversation with daughter, 7

First felt ill in June

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

The Channel 4 star has vowed to stay positive during his health battle after first feeling ill ​in June.

Mild-mannered Merlin, 46, told the Sunday Mirror he went to hospital with symptoms including bloating and nausea.

But he admits he did not have a second thought he could have cancer. Instead, Merlin believed his pain was caused by scar tissue in his stomach from a car accident when he was 20.

First Dates mixologist Merlin Griffiths is a show staple
First Dates mixologist Merlin Griffiths has been diagnosed with bowel cancer (Credit: Channel 4)

First Dates favourite Merlin on how his co-stars reacted

Following the discovery of a 4.5cm Stage 3 tumour, Merlin decided to speak out about his condition ahead of appearing on Stand Up to Cancer Live in October.

He informed his First Dates co-stars a week after diagnosis, with the news relayed to partner Lucille first.

Read more: First Dates: Brad leaves viewers ‘cringing’ as he boasts about lifestyle on date

Merlin told the tabloid that maître d’ Fred Sirieix was “lovely and encouraging” with his response.

He also indicated waiters Grant Urquhart and CiCi Coleman were both “shocked”, too.

On breaking the news to his seven-year-old daughter

Merlin now faces a year of treatment, with doctors telling him there’s a 75% chance he will live beyond five years.

He admitted he was up front but sensitive with his young daughter Alix over his diagnosis.

Merlin recalled their conversation: “I said, ‘Dad’s got cancer’. She said, ‘Is that bad, Dad?’

Modern medicine’s great.

“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.’

“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.”

Merlin whips up a cocktail for a First Dates customer
Merlin is familiar to Channel 4 viewers as First Dates’ bartender (Credit: First Dates YouTube)

Merlin’s tumour ‘felt like a walnut’

Merlin also described how he endured X-rays, a CT scan and a visit to A&E before doctors were able to find out what is wrong.

An urgent sigmoidoscopy investigated his lower intestine and found the tumour, which had felt ‘like a walnut’ inside him.

However, while the tumour has breached Merlin’s colon, it has not yet spread.

Read more: First Dates star Fred Sirieix on ‘scare’ that cut short new Road Trip series

Merlin’s oncologist hopes to cure, but Merlin remains realistic at all times.

It is hoped the tumour will be removed in the next three months.

Get well soon, Merlin!

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