Rhod Gilbert has given an update on his cancer treatment and shared how surreal it was to be an ambassador for a cancer charity one minute, and a patient the next.
The 54-year-old Welshman announced in July that he had stage four cancer and was being treated at the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff, where he had been a fundraising patron before the diagnosis.
Speaking during the National Comedy Awards on Friday, hosted at North London’s Roundhouse in aid of Stand Up 2 Cancer, he reflected on how he received his diagnosis.
‘I’ve led five fundraising treks all over the world, I do stand-up comedy nights to raise money, I hosted quizzes… it’s been a big part of my life for the last 10 years, so imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed with cancer,’ the star began.
‘Which p***ed me off no end, because I thought I’d have life-long immunity! Apparently not. Apparently you’re just as likely to get cancer even if you spend your time fundraising for a cancer hospital. Anyway, I did get it, and it turns out it can come for anybody.’
He went on: ‘The other irony is that I was in Cuba on a trek, fundraising for this cancer centre when the first lump popped up in my neck. I left as a patron and came back as a patient.
‘I’d been struggling for a while anyway, with pain in my neck and a sore throat and I couldn’t speak or breathe and I was postponing tour shows, I had terrible spasms in my face and tightness in my muscles. Couldn’t get to the bottom of it, turns out after a biopsy that I have something called head and neck cancer. Cancer of the head, sounded pretty serious.’
Before Rhod knew it, he was having surgery and daily sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
‘That’s another thing,’ he noted. ‘I had to have chemotherapy in a room with pictures of me on the way in! Grinning down at myself like, “Come on, you can do it!” Which was a bit odd.’
Praising those who have cared for him, he said: ‘But, my care has been faultless, my facial hair is back, my voice is back to normal, my weight is starting to come back, my saliva glands are coming back. Basically, I’m coming back!
‘My physical recovery goal is to lead the next fundraising trek to Morocco, we’re a way off that at the moment but I’m feeling really optimistic. Weirdly, I’m really happy.’
Viewers at home were delighted to see the funny man back on their screens after a tough year.
‘Great to see and hear Rhod Gilbert recovering well from cancer, love him!’, one person tweeted.
‘So glad to see the brilliant Rhod Gilbert looking so well and happy!!’, wrote another.
Another praised: ‘Incredible to hear Rhod Gilbert talk about the lesser recognised head and neck cancer. The treatment is brutal and the side effects permanent’.
The National Comedy Awards are available to stream on All4.
Macmillan cancer support
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, Macmillan can offer support and information.
You can contact their helpline on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week from 8am to 8pm), use their webchat service, or visit their site for more information.
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