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Chas Dingle to face breast cancer diagnosis

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Chas Dingle to face breast cancer diagnosis

Emmerdale is to focus on a breast cancer storyline when Chas Dingle is devastated to discover a lump in her breast.

Chas, played by Lucy Pargeter, will following the diagnosis venture into an emotional and frightening period for her with the added stress and worry following her mother Faith’s own tragic cancer story.

Lucy Pargeter:

“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.”  

The programme is working with the charity Breast Cancer Now which is helping with the production of this long-running storyline. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with one woman diagnosed every ten minutes. Single mum Chas will be seen enjoying a fun fling with the village doctor, Liam Cavanagh, played by Jonny McPherson until Liam tells her he has felt a lump in her breast.

Chas Dingle, Faith Dingle and Cain Dingle faced their mother’s terminal cancer

His pronouncement shatters the mood, and once alone Chas is visibly full of fear.  Although Dr Liam does his best to reassure her that it could be a cyst or something benign and not cancer, he insists she follow this up without delay by making an appointment to see her GP.  Before long following a trip to the breast clinic for diagnostic tests, the news is soon given that she has triple negative breast cancer.

Shell-shocked by the news, Chas initially decides to keep her diagnosis to herself. As a mother to a young daughter, she is keen to stay healthy, and with her mother’s history at the forefront of her thoughts, Chas is well aware of the potential implications.

Producer Kate Brooks:

“When this story was first pitched, we were acutely aware of how important it was to explore this.  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.”  

Kate continued, “We approached Breast Cancer Now as we wanted to depict this story in the most authentic way possible. Any light we can shed on this disease and encourage and remind people to routinely check their breasts can hopefully help lead to more positive outcomes.”

Faith Dingle’s long farewell saw village friends bring the seaside to Emmerdale when she was too ill to travel.

Cassie Kingswell, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Now notes, “With one in seven women in the UK developing breast cancer in their lifetime, Chas’ experience will resonate with thousands of Emmerdale viewers. Supporting people diagnosed with breast cancer and their loved ones, via our services, we’re able to draw on this insight along with our knowledge and extensive experience to provide informed, expert guidance for this storyline.

“We know that the sooner breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of treatment being successful, and ultimately lives being saved. As such, Emmerdale is delivering an important health message by raising awareness of the importance of breast checking, of knowing breast cancer signs and symptoms, and getting any new or unusual changes checked by a GP. We’re here for anyone affected by breast cancer, or with questions about breast health. If you’ve been affected by Chas’ storyline or are looking for information and support, call our team of expert nurses on Breast Cancer Now’s free confidential Helpline on 0808 800 6000, or email our confidential ask our nurse service.”

Emmerdale weekday nights at 7.30 on ITV1, STV and on ITVX and STV Player

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