Merlin Griffiths, a First Dates barman, revealed his stoma scars on television after speaking about his struggle with colon cancer.
The reality dating show’s season regular, 47, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2021 and has been undergoing treatment ever since.
Merlin was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer two years ago after a 4.5cm wide tumour was discovered in his intestines. He has been open about his health experience.
Merlin talked on the need of spreading awareness on Lorraine on Wednesday as part of the No Butts campaign, which the TV presenter began with the late Dame Deborah James.
‘Going through it all myself, you get very comfortable talking about this stuff [checking your poo] because you have to and you’re dealing with medical professionals and treating your diagnosis,’ he said.
‘But I think there is a bigger point and people have to be comfortable talking about this before this happens.’
Merlin described his early symptoms as ‘crushing tiredness’ where he could barely get off the sofa, as well as changes in his bowel habits.
He underwent chemotherapy with an intravenous infusion, chemoradiotherapy, a low anterior resection that removed his rectum and colon, which he claimed had since been reattached, and he also had a stoma after being diagnosed.
‘That was reversed this year,’ he then said.
He then added that the stoma reversal was a significant milestone in his rehabilitation and that he was currently in the clear.
When Lorraine enquired about his scars, Merlin requested if he may pull up his shirt and reveal them, which he did while the camera zoomed in on his stomach.
‘That’s what you’re left with afterwards,’ he explained.
Merlin said in January that he was nearing the end of his therapy.
Merlin stated that he was’ready to leave’ in a hospital bed, hugging his pet Buttony the Bear, and posted a photo of himself in the hospital bed, with admirers providing messages of support.
Lorraine airs weekdays from 9am on ITV.
What is a stoma?
A stoma is an opening on the abdomen that can be connected to either the digestive or urinary system to allow waste (urine or faeces) to be diverted out of the body.
It looks like a small, pinkish, circular piece of flesh that is sewn to the body, over which a pouch is worn.
According to research carried out by the NHS, there are 176,824 people in the UK living with a stoma, with the most common conditions resulting in stoma surgery being colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and accidental injury.