Rhod Gilbert says cancer diagnosis that left him struggling to speak or breathe 'p****d him off'

18 February 2023, 10:16

Rhod Gilbert
Rhod Gilbert. Picture: Channel 4/Facebook

By Kit Heren

Rhod Gilbert has said that a cancerous lump in his neck that made it a struggle for him to speak or breathe "p****d [him] off".

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The Welsh comedian, 54, revealed last year that he was being treated for stage 4 cancer.

He said in July last year that he would "disappear for a while" to focus on his treatment at a centre he had fundraised for over a decade.

Mr Gilbert did not say at the time where the cancer had struck, but has since revealed it was in his head and neck.

But in a moving first interview since treatment started, Mr Gilbert said he was on the road to recovery.

Rhod Gilbert
Rhod Gilbert. Picture: Getty

Speaking in a moving segment played at the National Comedy Awards on Friday, the stand up reflected on the moment when he first realised something was wrong;

"I couldn't speak or breathe and I was postponing and cancelling tour shows, I had terrible spasms in my face and a lot of tightness in my muscles, he said. 

"Couldn't get to the bottom of it, turns out after a biopsy of this lump in my neck that I have something called head and neck cancer, cancer of the head, sounded pretty serious."

Mr Gilbert said that his diagnosis 'p***ed him off", joking that he thought he would get "life-long immunity" for doing so much fund-raising as a patron for a cancer centre.

Caller's mother was 'crying out in agony' due to bone cancer

He said: "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.

"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."

Mr Gilbert had chemotherapy and radiotherapy for the cancer, and said he was improving physically - and even plans to lead the next fundraising hike for the centre.

He said: "I had to have chemotherapy sessions in a room with pictures of me on the way in, grinning down at myself as a patron," he smiled.

NHS faces 'worst cancer crisis we've ever known'

Mr Gilbert added: "My facial hair is coming back, my voice is back to normal, my weight is coming back, my saliva glands are starting to come back. Basically, I'm coming back.

"My physically recovery goal is to lead the next fundraising trek to Morocco."

Read more: Comedian Rhod Gilbert reveals he is receiving treatment for cancer

Read more: Dame Esther Rantzen 'staying optimistic' after being diagnosed with lung cancer

Fans were quick to offer their well wishes to the comedian, well known for his appearances on panel shows and quiz shows as well as stand up.

"So good to see Rhod Gilbert recovering and feeling good," one person said. "He's a fantastic comic and a lovely person and we're so lucky to have him."

Another added: "Rhod Gilbert everyone who you've helped get through tough times by making them laugh, we sending prays and love to you, wish you a speedy recovery."

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