Emmerdale spoilers: Heartbreaking bowel cancer storyline confirmed for Vanessa Woodfield

18 February 2020, 14:04 | Updated: 18 February 2020, 14:06

Vanessa will be diagnosed with bowel cancer
Vanessa will be diagnosed with bowel cancer. Picture: ITV

Vanessa Woodfield found out she had bowel cancer in last night's Emmerdale.

Over the next few months, Emmerdale will air a heartbreaking new cancer storyline featuring Vanessa Woodfield.

During Monday evening's episode, viewers found out about Vanessa’s (Michelle Hardwick) diagnoses while she was being held hostage by Pierce Harris (Jonathan Wrather).

And as the story develops, Vanessa will see more and more symptoms of the disease as she undergoes treatment.

Emmerdale have teamed with Bowel Cancer UK regarding this storyline, with 43-year-old actress Michelle admitting the charity have been "enormously helpful" throughout her research.

Vanessa is being held hostage by Pierce in Emmerdale
Vanessa is being held hostage by Pierce in Emmerdale. Picture: ITV

She said: "This is such a challenging storyline, but we’ve been working closely with Bowel Cancer UK, who have been enormously helpful to me in researching Vanessa's symptoms and treatment.

Read More: Emmerdale spoilers: What happens to Vanessa Woodfield and will she die at the hands of Pierce Harris?

"I hope to do Vanessa’s story justice. I was actually really shocked to learn that bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK and the second biggest cancer killer, but diagnosed early is treatable."

Genevieve Edwards, Chief Executive of Bowel Cancer UK, added: “We greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with the Emmerdale team on this important storyline.

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“While everyone’s experience of diagnosis is different, it is vital that Vanessa’s story is as accurate as possible. Although bowel cancer is more common in the over 50s, it can affect people of all ages.

“More than 2,500 people under 50, like Vanessa, are diagnosed with the disease in the UK every year. This storyline will help to raise awareness of bowel cancer, and we hope it encourages viewers to recognise the symptoms and visit their GP if they’re concerned.”

What are the symptoms of bowel cancer?

According to the NHS website, the symptoms of bowel cancer can be subtle and do not necessarily make you feel ill.

More than 90% of people with bowel cancer have one of the following combinations of symptoms:

- a persistent change in bowel habit – pooing more often, with looser, runnier poos and sometimes tummy (abdominal) pain

- blood in the poo without other symptoms of piles (haemorrhoids) – this makes it unlikely the cause is haemorrhoids

- abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating – sometimes resulting in a reduction in the amount of food eaten and weight loss

You should see your GP if you have one or more of the symptoms of bowel cancer, and they persist for more than four weeks.

Find out more information at the NHS website here.