‘It’s Getting Tough’: MAFS’ Mel Schilling Gives Cancer Update

“I knew something still wasn’t right.”

MAFS‘ Mel Schilling has provided a rare update on her cancer battle, as she undergoes on her fifth round of chemotherapy for stage three bowel cancer

Speaking to The Mirror, the television star, 52, said “It’s getting tough now. I’m about halfway through and it’s getting hard. Feeling fatigued and nauseous is a bigger part of my everyday life. It feels like I’m hungover or pregnant every day, which is not fun.”

Mel and her daughter, Maddie. Image: @mel_schilling1

She also reflected on her diagnosis, sharing that she mistook her symptoms as the result of her busy filming schedule.

“The last quarter of 2023, I was in Australia filming MAFS and there was a crossover with filming in the UK so I had to fly back and forth,” she shared. “That was hard because it’s a long flight, so you’ve got the tiredness and the jet lag and I’m 52! My body was complaining about all the long-haul flights and I thought that’s all it was.”

“My digestive system packed to a halt and I started having stomach pain. I wasn’t paying attention to my body because I was so busy. I’m a big foodie and I noticed something was really wrong when I couldn’t eat anything or even hold down a cup of tea.

“Once I got home, I realised I hadn’t eaten anything in around a week and I hadn’t been to the toilet in three weeks. I’d lost over a stone in weight and I was on a liquid diet by this point. I wasn’t even aware of how much I had lost, so things were serious. But I never thought it would be cancer.”

It’s not the first time Schilling has gotten candid about her health journey in recent months. Speaking on Heart Breakfast in April 2024, she provided some insight on how it’s really been for her.

“I’m doing well. So this is currently a week off in my chemo cycles, which is why I’ve got quite a lot of energy today. I’m doing well,” she told hosts Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden. “I’ve learned there is a lot of different types of chemo… so the type of chemo that I have, doesn’t really make me sick. It’s not going to make me lose my hair. 

“I have other side effects like tingly fingers, that’s a funny one and very sensitive to cold. So I have to wear gloves a lot. And just a little bit tired.”

How MAFS’ Mel Schilling Shared Her Heart-Breaking Cancer Diagnosis

“YOU HAVE CANCER,” Schilling wrote back in December 2023 on Instagram. “Three little words that everyone dreads but no one ever expects to hear. Last Thursday my consultant told me those 3 words.”

She posted the news alongside a photo of her husband Gareth and daughter Madison hugging her. “About a month ago when I was filming in Australia I developed severe stomach cramps on set, I put it down to all the travel I’d been doing and the upset it caused to my system,” she wrote.

Mel Schilling and her family in the UK. Image: Instagram

Concerned, she went to see a GP in Sydney and was told she was suffering from constipation. She was sent away with laxatives.

However, Mel had a feeling that something more was going on.

“Fortunately, I knew something still wasn’t right, so I booked in for a scan when I returned to the UK,” she continued. “On Thursday I was told I had colon cancer and, in an instant, my whole life changed.”

The diagnosis has given Schilling a new outlook on life. She reflected on the words of The Beetles front man John Lennon in her post.

“John Lennon famously said that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, how right he was.

“This week I had planned to travel to Northern Ireland with my family to spend Christmas with loved ones.

“Instead, tomorrow morning I’m checking in to hospital to have an operation to remove a 5cm tumour in my colon, a tumour that had it gone undetected for much longer would have killed me.”

Image: Instagram

Despite the devastating diagnosis, Mel is optimistic about her future, adding that she feels “incredibly blessed to have a cancer that is relatively easy to eradicate”.

”I’m expected to make a full recovery though it’s a rough road ahead,” she shared with fans. “I also feel so lucky to have an incredible support network around me, both personally and professionally, my own family and my TV family have been amazing these past few days.”

Schilling spent the remainder of her holidays in hospital, including Christmas day. She added that she’s named her tumour ‘Terry’ and that getting rid of it “will be the best present of all”.

She took the opportunity to remind her fans that trusting your intuition is so important.

“I just wanted to finish by saying that if something doesn’t feel right, please, please don’t ignore it and if you don’t think the answers you have got are right, keep going until you do, it might just save your life.”

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