Coronation Street’s Sinead Tinker is giving worrying news at her 12-week baby scan when doctors discover a lump on her cervix that could be cancerous.
Tonight’s episodes (Wednesday 3 October) show the pregnant seamstress attend her scan with boyfriend and delighted dad-to-be Daniel Osbourne. The baby is perfectly healthy, but after Daniel leaves Sinead confides in the obstetrician she has been bleeding for weeks which leads to the medical bombshell. As the heartbreaking story unfolds and Sinead awaits confirmation as to whether or not she has cancer, Katie McGlynn discusses the emotional road ahead for her character as she keeps the news to herself – for now.
How does Sinead react when the lump is detected?
Initially she’s in shock because when someone says lump you know that’s not good. Her whole world turns upside down. Even though it’s just a possibility she’s constantly thinking ‘what if it is’ and doesn’t tell anyone. Sinead also thinks she’s to blame – when she hears it could be cancer she says to the doctor: ‘I’ve had an abortion is that why?’. They assure her it’s not, but she still secretly blames herself.
Why does she keep the news to herself, even though she told Beth about the bleeding? Because her worst fear is for Daniel to find out. Sinead doesn’t know the full news yet, she’s just keeping everything to herself because she can’t risk anyone finding out for his sake as she knows it will break his heart. She manages to hide her hospital appointments at first by lying she’s meeting a friend or going to the dentist. There’s also a sense of, if she doesn’t tell anyone it might not be real.
If it’s cancer, Sinead may have to terminate her pregnancy to have treatment, how will she cope? All the way through it she’s constantly thinking about the baby, even though she’s only three months pregnant. Her first thought when she’s told about the lump is for the baby – her maternal instinct kicks in straight away, she’s not thinking about herself. That will play out throughout the storyline.
How does Sinead think this will impact on her relationship with Daniel? She thinks he’s going to lose the plot again, he’ll be devastated and probably won’t pursue his plans to carry on his education. She knows it’s going to be catastrophic so she just can’t say anything to him, he’ll be too upset. Sinead loves Daniel so much, it’s enough for her to deal with and she doesn’t want to have to go through the same scenario with him.
Have you done any research into the subject of cancer in pregnancy? I had a meeting with Mummy’s Star which is a charity that helps women in these situations, set up by a guy called Pete Wallroth who lost his wife to cancer soon after the birth of their child. I also met a lady who had cancer while she was pregnant. It was interesting to know what they were feeling throughout it all, it gave me insights and aspects you wouldn’t think of. I’ve just tried to imagine that Sinead’s story is real.
Do you hope this storyline raises awareness around the illness? Yes. Women going through this need to know that there are charities like Mummy’s Star that can help, and that they are not on their own. So many women are affected by cancer during pregnancy but it’s one of those subjects that nobody really hears about. I want to raise more awareness to the public so they know that whatever decision they make they shouldn’t blame themselves – whether they abort the baby and try to get better or keep the baby, there’s so many different opinions, they need to know whatever decision they make is what is best for them.
How do you feel about soaps tackling difficult topics in general? I think it is important. People watch soaps day in, day out and you’re putting a message into their living rooms. Not everyone wants to watch a touchy storyline like this, but I do think it’s important as it helps to make the public more aware and know help is out there. This isn’t a campaign for smear tests, but this storyline highlights that issue as well, a lot of women wouldn’t act upon any symptoms as they’re so sucked into the pregnancy and put it to the back of their mind.