Rhod Gilbert reveals moment he discovered cancerous lump while on charity trek for Velindre

Rhod Gilbert was diagnosed with head and neck cancer last year. Credit: PA Images

Comedian Rhod Gilbert has spoken of the moment he discovered a cancerous lump in his neck during a fundraising trek for a cancer charity.

The 54-year-old from Carmarthen reflected on his diagnosis in a social media post after announcing he had stage four cancer in July 2022.

Rhod, who is a patron for Welsh cancer centre Velindre, praised their work and spoke about the realisation he had become a patient of the charity he was campaigning for.

Over the past 10 years, the television and radio presenter reflected on his work with the cancer hospital: "I've led, albeit from the back, five fundraising treks all over the world, I do standup comedy nights to raise money, I've hosted quizzes. It's been a big part of my life really for the last 10 years.

"So imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed with cancer, which p***** me off no end, because I thought I'd have lifelong immunity, apparently not. Apparently you're just as likely to get cancer, even if you spend your time fundraising for a cancer hospital."

Within the three-minute long video, Mr Gilbert shared the moment he first noticed a lump whilst he was on a fundraising trip with Velindre.

"The other irony is that I was in Cuba on a fundraising trek for this cancer centre when the first lump popped up in my neck. I literally left as a patron and came back as a patient.

"I'd been struggling for a while anyway with pain in my neck, I had a sore throat, I couldn't speak and I couldn't breathe. I was postponing and cancelling tour shows. I had terrible spasms in my face and a lot of tightness in the muscles, couldn't get to the bottom of it."

After a biopsy, the comedian was diagnosed with head and neck cancer.

Surgery and daily sessions of both radiotherapy and chemotherapy followed, but Mr Gilbert recalled the humorous side of the situation.

"That's another thing, I had to have chemotherapy sessions in a room with pictures of me in the room on the way in, grinning down at myself as a patron on the walls going, 'You can do this!' which was a bit odd."

Gilbert spent years confronting life’s mild irritants through his comedy.

Speaking about his 2012 live show The Man With The Flaming Battenberg Tattoo in a recent interview with The Guardian, he said: “I was having to look for things to be angry about, to fit what I did. And that’s diminishing returns, clearly. I felt that, and I think audiences felt that.”

In that same interview he said he is committed to using his experience of cancer in his next stand-up shows, having written 250 pages of material.

Rhod said he has written 250 pages of comedy material whilst receiving cancer treatment Credit: PA

Reflecting on the support and treatment in his latest post, he praised the cancer hospital and has already set himself his next fundraising goal.

"My care has been faultless. My facial hair is coming back, my voice is back to normal, my weight is starting to come back and my saliva glands are starting to come back. Basically, I'm coming back.

"My physical recovery goal is to lead the next fundraising trek to Morocco, to the highest point in north Africa in the Atlas Mountains.

"That's my goal. I'm a little way off that at the moment, but I'm feeling optimistic and weirdly I'm feeling really happy and really positive. And some would say that makes a change, I'm sure."

Mr Gilbert finished the video by stating around one-in-two people will get cancer and that "scientists are working their butts off to try to nail new life-saving treatments" as he urged people to donate.