Emmerdale favourite Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) is to be diagnosed with breast cancer as part of a major new storyline.
The single mum embarks upon a fling with the village's resident doctor, Liam (Jonny McPherson), and is left shocked when he tells her that he has felt a lump in her breast.
Chas then gets an official confirmation that she has breast cancer and, mindful of her mother Faith's death to cancer, she initially chooses to keep her diagnosis to herself.
"When this story was first pitched, we were acutely aware how important it was to explore this," said producer Kate Brooks.
"With Chas's family history of breast cancer and Chas being such a strong character, and in many ways the bedrock of the Dingles, we wanted to show the impact on not just her, but her immediate family.
"With Lucy Pargeter's innate ability to showcase Chas's vulnerabilities beneath her hardened exterior, we knew she was absolutely the right character to play this with."
Pargeter, who has played Chas for more than 21 years, added: "When the producers first discussed this storyline with me I knew I didn't want us to shy away from any aspect of this diagnosis for Chas. She saw her own mother ultimately die after an incurable breast cancer diagnosis, so for Chas to receive a breast cancer diagnosis herself makes it all the more poignant.
"Our audience knows her so well, they have seen her relationships, know her faults, her passions, her insecurities, quirks and fears. So for them to see this story play out will be more meaningful given everything that has happened to both her and her mother.
"I think this is the beauty of our genre 'Soap'. However, I am more than aware of the huge responsibility with us telling this story. I hope we can do it justice.
"It won't be all doom and gloom, there will be ups and downs just like with anything. But I hope it looks and feels real. And if just a few people get help for breast changes that do not feel or look right, it could do some good too."
Emmerdale continues weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1 and ITVX.
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