First Dates' Merlin Griffiths' relief as scan confirms bowel cancer 'all clear for now'

Griffiths rose to fame as the bartender who chats to the daters while they wait at the bar. Credit: Credit: merlinfdc4/Instagram

First Dates barman Merlin Griffiths has confirmed he is "all clear for now" after being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

The 48-year-old Channel 4 star, who owns The Priory Tavern in Kilburn, London, announced his condition in September 2021 and underwent surgery to remove a tumour in his bowel in April 2022.

On Thursday, the fan favourite wrote to his 146,000 Instagram followers: "Final Year 1 scan results are in, and it's ALL CLEAR for now.

"Nice. Thank you #NHS #bowelcancerawareness".

Griffiths rose to fame as the bartender who chats to the daters while they wait at the bar for their match in Channel 4’s hit show.

He documented his cancer treatment on social media, updating fans in a series of posts, including photographs from hospital before and after his surgery.

Dame Deborah's Bowelbabe cancer research fund raised £11.3 million. Credit: Instagram

He shared a selfie from hospital, wearing a mask before his operation, with the caption: “Ready as I’ll ever be. Tumour removal time.”

First Dates co-stars and friends were quick to wish him luck in the comments, with waitress and actress CiCi Coleman sending a number of heart emojis.

After the death of Dame Deborah James from bowel cancer in June last year, more people than ever before were getting checked for the illness.

Dame Deborah, also known by her social media handle Bowel Babe, had been raising awareness about the disease until her death on June 28 at the age of 40.

She set up The Bowelbabe cancer research fund, which raised a total of £11.3 million, it was announced in April.

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

According to the NHS, the three main symptoms of bowel cancer are:

  • persistent blood in your poo – that happens for no obvious reason or is associated with a change in bowel habit

  • a persistent change in your bowel habit – which is usually having to poo more and your poo may also become more runny

  • persistent lower, bloating or discomfort – that's always caused by eating and may be associated with loss of appetite and weight

The NHS says most people with these symptoms do not have bowel cancer. Other health problems can cause similar symptoms such as a change in diet or haemorrhoids.

However, the NHS recommends seeing your GP if you have had any of these symptoms for three weeks or more.

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