It’s been a tough few months for Emmerdale’s number one vet Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick) as she lost her dad Frank, split temporary with fiancee Charity Dingle, and almost got married. Things have got worse having now been kidnapped by Graham’s killer and rapist Pierce Harris (Jonathan Wrather).

Tonight’s Emmerdale saw Vanessa still kidnapped and worrying about her son Johnny. As Pierce taunted her a voicemail on Vanessa’s phone put him in shock as he learned of a missed doctors appointment and a letter saw him reveal that Vanessa is suffering from bowel cancer.

Emmerdale have revealed that this important storyline will play out over the coming months as Vanessa comes to terms with her diagnosis and symptoms, and shares her concerns and undergoes extensive treatment.

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.”

The Emmerdale team have been working with charity Bowel Cancer UK (Picture: ITV)

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 will continue tomorrow at 7pm on ITV.