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Rhod Gilbert: ‘I left as a patron and came back as a patient’

19 Feb 2023 2 minute read
Rhod Gilbert

Much loved Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert said he is feeling “happy and really positive” while giving an insight into life with cancer and his road to recovery

In a pre-recorded video addressing the National Comedy Awards for Stand Up To Cancer on Channel 4 he explained how he had taken part in treks all over the world on behalf of Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff during his ten years as a patron.

“So, imagine my surprise when I was diagnosed with cancer…which pissed me off no end because I thought I’d have lifelong immunity.”

It was during a fundraising trek to Cuba that he became aware of a lump in his neck, which followed a series of other symptoms.

He said: “I had a sore throat and I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t breathe and I was postponing and cancelling tour shows and I had terrible spasms in my face and a lot of tightness in the muscles.

“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.

“So before I knew it, I was having surgery. I was in daily sessions of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.”

He comments on the irony of seeing his own face grinning back at him from posters on the walls of the unit when he went in for treatment, before praising his treatment as ‘faultless’.


After describing improvements in his health, he said: “My 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…some would say there’s a first time for everything.”

The 54-year-old Welshman announced in July that he had stage four cancer and would be “disappearing for a while” to focus on treatment.

In January he announced he had written 250 pages of material about life with cancer and was looking forward to rescheduling shows in the summer, having had to postpone a string of live shows after discovering he required additional surgery for gallstones in December.

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