Emmerdale character tragically discovers they have bowel cancer
17th February 2020
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Emmerdale's Vanessa Woodfield was tragically diagnosed with bowel cancer this evening.

Even more devastating was the fact that she was unable to tell wife Charity or her family and friends about the heartbreaking news as she was still held hostage by Pierce Harris.

In eerie scenes, Vanessa pleaded to see her young son as Pierce opened her letter from the hospital.

Vanessa desperately tried to prevent him from opening the envelope but he ignored her and was stunned when he read out her diagnosis.

Pierce went on to tell her that his dad had suffered from cancer and six weeks after discovering his diagnosis, he was dead.


But far from comfort Vanessa, Pierce taunted her by telling her that his dad was in so much pain and that her son would feel helpless.

"Like how you feel now," he taunted.

"You know nothing about how I feel," she hit back.

"I know how awful it must be knowing you're not going to be there for the milestones, the GCSEs, the first girlfriend, the first day at uni," Pierce continued mockingly.

He then told her to talk to Rhona and persuade her to listen. Will she do it?

Vanessa's storyline will play out on Emmerdale over the next coming months as she comes to terms with with her diagnosis and undergoes extensive treatment.

The ITV soap has been working closely with charity Bowel Cancer UK regarding the heartbreaking storyline.

Actress Michelle Hardwick revealed: “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.

"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 at Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with the Emmerdale team on this important storyline. 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.”

*Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7pm on ITV, with additional episodes at 8pm on Thursdays

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