The Albert Square favourite is to receive a very troubling diagnosis.

There’ll be tough times ahead for Jean

The Mirror notes that the character, played by Gillian Wright, will start to show symptoms of the potentially fatal disease next month, leading her to visit the doctors.

“I’m aware of the impact such stories can have. It’s important that we treat the issue of cancer diagnosis and treatment with huge sensitivity, dignity and respect. I hope the story helps awareness of the disease and is supportive to those affected.” – Gillian Wright

The beeb’s top serial boss Kate Oates previously teased a health-related story for Jean, explaining that the soap would be “looking at her mental health through the lens of her physical health”. The storyline is what lures Jean’s son Sean, played by Rob Kazinsky, back to Albert Square.

“I know an actor of Gillian’s calibre will approach the story with great truth and depth. The Slaters are an amazing ensemble family and this story is a completely fresh subject for them to tackle. I know they will do it justice and raise awareness of such an important issue that affects so many people.” – Kate Oates, Senior Executive Producer

Jean and daughter Stacey have often helped each other through their struggles

Sean Slater will return to Albert Square following his mum’s diagnosis

Wright made her first appearance as Jean in December 2004, and has won a Mental Health Media Award for her portrayal of Jean’s bipolar as well as best actress at the Inside Soap Awards in 2012.

Jean’s storylines have also explored her fractured relationship with son Sean, and have seen her look out for daughter Stacey, played by Lacey Turner, who has bipolar too. She found love with fellow gardening enthusiast Ollie Walters in 2013 and left the Square to live in Brighton with him, however she came back to Walford last year after deciding that life with Ollie was no longer for her. She is now to be faced with her biggest challenge yet.

“It’s been a privilege to work with EastEnders to ensure the plot and the language used in the scripts are a true reflection of the impact that cancer can have. Stories like Jean’s can genuinely save and improve lives. We want all the ‘real-life Jeans’ to know we are here to help. Our free support line is open seven days a week, 8am-8pm on 0808 808 00 00.” – Georgina Wiley, Macmillan Cancer Support

There are around 7,000 new cases of ovarian cancer each year in the UK.

Jean with Big Mo and Kat
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