Emmerdale has revealed that Vanessa's story will play out over the coming months...
The sad twist came as she is being held hostage by Graham Foster's killer Pierce Harris... and until now, no one else knew about Vanessa's secret.
Pierce, who is also the former husband of her best friend, Rhona Goskirk, made the discovery when doctors left a voicemail on Vanessa's phone asking her to call immediately and make an appointment.
He then went on the discover a letter confirming the diagnosis in her handbag, making him the first person to learn the news after Vanessa herself.
Because she is being held captive by Pierce, Vanessa hasn't had the chance to tell her fiancee Charity Dingle, best friend Rhona or even her sister Tracy Metcalfe.
Emmerdale has confirmed that this storyline will play out over the coming months as Vanessa comes to terms with her diagnosis and symptoms, and shares her concerns with loved ones.
With Vanessa set to undergo extensive treatment for her cancer, the Emmerdale team have been working with charity Bowel Cancer UK to help portray the storyline.
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."
Actress Michelle Hardwick, who plays village vet Vanessa added: "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."
Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.
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