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Merlin Griffiths shares hospital snap after ‘robotic’ surgery to remove bowel cancer tumour

First Dates’ barman Merlin Griffiths has thanked the NHS for ‘literally saving his life’ after undergoing ‘robotic’ surgery to have a tumour removed following his bowel cancer diagnosis last year.

The TV personality, 46, looked frail in a candid selfie from his hospital bed, which he shared to Twitter on Friday while admitting he’s suffering ‘aches and pains’. 

Only the previous day, he wore a black face mask with unicorn prints while declaring he’s ‘ready as he’ll ever be’ in an Instagram post before having the tumour removed. 

 

 

'Thank you NHS for literally saving my life': First Dates' barman Merlin Griffiths, 46, looked frail in a hospital bed selfie following 'robotic' surgery to remove his bowel cancer tumour on Friday

‘Thank you NHS for literally saving my life’: First Dates’ barman Merlin Griffiths, 46, looked frail in a hospital bed selfie following ‘robotic’ surgery to remove his bowel cancer tumour on Friday

He wrote: ‘Thank you #NHS for literally saving my life. #BowelCancerAwarenessMonth.’ 

Posting the same shot to the photosharing platform, he added: ‘2am. Tubes outta everywhere. Aches and pains. But no tumour! #bowelcancerawarenessmonth.’ 

Plugging April’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, he concluded: Ready as I’ll ever be. Tumour removal time. [champagne emoji] #bowelcancerawarenessmonth.’

He also shared a photo of the four-armed ‘robot’ holding the surgical instruments and a camera, to give his followers an insight into the procedure. 

Gearing up: Only the previous day, he wore a black face mask with unicorn prints while declaring he's 'ready as he'll ever be' in an Instagram post before having the tumour removed

Gearing up: Only the previous day, he wore a black face mask with unicorn prints while declaring he’s ‘ready as he’ll ever be’ in an Instagram post before having the tumour removed

Fascinating: He also shared a photo of the four-armed 'robot' holding the surgical instruments and a camera, to give his followers an insight into the procedure

Fascinating: He also shared a photo of the four-armed ‘robot’ holding the surgical instruments and a camera, to give his followers an insight into the procedure

Candid: Plugging April's Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, he concluded: Ready as I'll ever be. Tumour removal time. [champagne emoji] #bowelcancerawarenessmonth'

Candid: Plugging April’s Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, he concluded: Ready as I’ll ever be. Tumour removal time. [champagne emoji] #bowelcancerawarenessmonth’

Merlin announced in March that he was due to have the operation, joking that he had three weeks to ‘get my s**t together’.

Last year, Merlin was told he has a 75 per cent chance of living for more than five years after medical tests unearthed a stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length. 

And updating his followers on his progress, he tweeted: ‘Operation scheduled. Three weeks to get my s**t together. Robotic surgery, welcome to the future!’ 

He later thanked his fans for their well wishes, adding: ‘Thank you to everyone wishing me well. X May your lives be prosperous and filled with empathy and happiness.’ 

Unwell: Merlin announced in March that he was due to have the operation, joking that he had three weeks to 'get my s**t together'

Unwell: Merlin announced in March that he was due to have the operation, joking that he had three weeks to ‘get my s**t together’

Robotic surgery sees surgeons view the operation through a magnified screen while a robotic machine with four arms holds the surgical instruments and a camera. The surgeon controls the arms of the machine and removes the cancer through keyhole surgery. 

Merlin received his bleak diagnosis from doctors at Northampton General Hospital, saying at the time that he was trying to keep a ‘positive outlook’.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror last year, Merlin said: ‘I’m keeping that positive outlook, but I’ve a morbid sense of humour. I tell people, ‘I have colorectal cancer… it’s a real pain in the ar*e!’

Merlin has a seven-year-old daughter called Alix with his partner Lucille, 40, who he has been with for more than a decade and will be by his side as he faces a year of life-saving treatment.

Diagnosis: Last year, Merlin was told he has a 75 per cent chance of living for more than five years after medical tests unearthed a stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length

Diagnosis: Last year, Merlin was told he has a 75 per cent chance of living for more than five years after medical tests unearthed a stage three tumour that measured 4.5cm in length 

When the barman told his young daughter of the troubling diagnosis he reassured her of the powers of modern medicine and gushed about the public healthcare system.

At the time, he said: ‘I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country, which is just so incredible.’ 

Keeping his emotions behind closed doors, Merlin admitted: ‘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.’

'I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country': Last year, Merlin said he was remaining optimistic as he gushed about the public health service

‘I have so much faith in medicine and the NHS in this country’: Last year, Merlin said he was remaining optimistic as he gushed about the public health service 

The TV personality, who became a household name alongside Fred Sirieix in the First Dates restaurant, started to feel pain in June but thought it was caused by an old stomach injury from a car accident in his 20s.

Merlin was diagnosed with bowel cancer last year and said his tumour looked like an alien and felt like a walnut stuck inside of him. 

Doctors discovered the tumour when they gave the barman an emergency sigmoidoscopy to probe his lower intestine after the star spent three months telling people he felt something wrong in his body. 

Merlin admitted he was terrified by the ordeal but immediately focused on his chances of survival following his diagnosis.  

Close: Merlin told his co-workers in the First Dates restaurant about his diagnosis just a week after he told his family (pictured: Fiona Beck, Grant Urquhart, Daniella Kalita, Fred Sirieix, David, Cici Coleman and Merlin on the show)

Close: Merlin told his co-workers in the First Dates restaurant about his diagnosis just a week after he told his family (pictured: Fiona Beck, Grant Urquhart, Daniella Kalita, Fred Sirieix, David, Cici Coleman and Merlin on the show) 

The star revealed that his tumour wanted to move into the tissue surrounding it but wasn’t ‘lymph’ – meaning the cancer thankfully hadn’t spread.  

Merlin told his co-workers in the First Dates restaurant, including maitre d’hotel Fred Sirieix, and waiters Grant Urquhart and CiCi Coleman, about his diagnosis just a week after he told his family.  

The barman admitted his peers were shocked and couldn’t help but question why bad things happen to good people. 

The star is maintaining an optimistic outlook on the diagnosis and said his morbid sense of humour is helping him through the troubling time. 

BOWEL CANCER: THE SYMPTOMS YOU SHOULDN’T IGNORE 

Bowel, or colorectal, cancer affects the large bowel, which is made up of the colon and rectum.

Such tumours usually develop from pre-cancerous growths, called polyps.

Symptoms include:

  • Bleeding from the bottom
  • Blood in stools
  • A change in bowel habits lasting at least three weeks
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme, unexplained tiredness
  • Abdominal pain

Most cases have no clear cause, however, people are more at risk if they: 

  • Are over 50
  • Have a family history of the condition
  • Have a personal history of polyps in their bowel
  • Suffer from inflammatory bowel disease, such as Crohn’s disease
  • Lead an unhealthy lifestyle  

Treatment usually involves surgery, and chemo- and radiotherapy.

More than nine out of 10 people with stage one bowel cancer survive five years or more after their diagnosis.

This drops significantly if it is diagnosed in later stages. 

According to Bowel Cancer UK figures, more than 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK. 

It affects around 40 per 100,000 adults per year in the US, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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