Emmerdale stars Lucy Pargeter and Lisa Riley on Chas Dingle's breast cancer storyline

  • Report by Adam Fowler

Emmerdale star Lucy Pargeter hopes a new breast cancer storyline will encourage people to check their own breasts.

Pargeter's character Chas Dingle is devastated when she discovers she has a lump in her breast. It follows the death of the character's mother, Faith Dingle, from the disease.

The actress told ITV news she hopes the storyline will make an impact on viewers.

She said: "Unfortunately it is very common, but unfortunately there are far too many of us who don't check our boobs – both male and female.

"We are constantly face with hearing about the cancer rate increasing and yet you ask three out of five people still don't check their own breasts. That's a very important message."

Viewers will see Chas enjoying a fling with the village doctor, Liam Cavanagh, until Liam tells her he has felt a lump in her breast.

She initially decides to keep her diagnosis to herself.

Lisa Riley, who plays Mandy Dingle in the ITV soap, said: "They call it the ostrich moment – they say it's easier to put your head in the sand.

"You see it on the TV and think 'yes I must'.

"But when push comes to shove it's that absolute internal fear and crossing that barrier of going 'right, now I need to go and see a GP'.

"If we can give a voice to this topic, because there is so many people who get breast cancer, and the stats are getting higher. We're giving this story a voice so people might get together and talk about it and not be so frightened."

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer, with one woman diagnosed every ten minutes.

Riley, who lost her own mother to breast cancer, said: "I know how my dad was feeling, I know how my brother was feeling and how I was feeling. So people can come to me and ask what would I be feeling like."

The soap is working with the charity Breast Cancer Now on the storyline.

Producer Kate Brooks said: "When this story was first pitched, we were acutely aware 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."

Sally Kum, of Breast Cancer Now, said: "Everyone's experience of breast cancer will be different, but also what we know is people want to have honest and open conversations about breast cancer, being informed about what will happen and the impact.

"It's a unique experience to amplify our messaging around breast checking and it's important to be aware of what's important to you."

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