EastEnders bosses have revealed that Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson) is to make a life-changing discovery when she discovers a lump on her breast. Following an appointment with her doctor, she is referred to a specialist for further tests – the results of which will be explored further in the new year as she and her family deal with the implications.
Lindsey Coulson said today: “This is a very important storyline as breast cancer is something that affects so many people. Through Carol’s story I hope we can raise awareness of the impact of breast cancer on the people that have it and their families.”
The show’s executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins added: “EastEnders has a long tradition of dealing with social issues and breast cancer is one that the majority of people have been affected by in some way. And this is not just a story about breast cancer.
“This is a story about women, about mothers and daughters, and ultimately about family. And with Lindsey Coulson, Michael French, Patsy Palmer and Natalie Cassidy giving powerhouse performances at its centre, this is a storyline that will inform, move, and shake up the audience as it shakes up the Jackson family.”
This isn't the first time that EastEnders has highlighted breast cancer in its plotlines: in 1987, Sue Osman (Sandy Ratcliff) discovered a lump on her breast that turned out to be benign, while Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor) was diagnosed with the disease in 1996. As Peggy underwent a mastectomy in 1999 following the return of her cancer, BBC Production chief executive Matthew Banister praised Windsor's performance, commenting that it "brought a good deal of comfort and help to us and a lot of other people".
Of the latest storyline, which will unfold on screen in the coming weeks, Dr Alastair Thomson, a clinical oncologist, said: “Cancer is such an important and common issue, affecting many lives in the UK. Breast cancer now affects one in eight women in this country. This means there are 50,000 new diagnoses every year. The cancer diagnosis hits the patient hard, but also impacts widely on her friends and family. It has been a pleasure to be involved in reviewing the EastEnders storyline for breast cancer.”
Jacqui Graves, head of health and social care at Macmillan Cancer Support added: “Sadly, thousands of women like Carol are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK, so we congratulate EastEnders for helping to raise awareness of the condition. Being diagnosed with cancer can have a devastating impact, not just on the individual, but their families and friends as well.
"That’s why it’s vital people get the help and support they need at this difficult time. We hope anyone watching who is affected by the issue comes to Macmillan Cancer Support for advice by calling our helpline on 0808 808 00 00 or visiting our website."