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'EastEnders' Tanya storyline praised by cancer charity

By
Jo Joyner as Tanya Branning

© BBC

EastEnders has been praised by a cancer charity for helping spread awareness about cervical cancer.

Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has received an extra amount of calls to its helpline following Tanya Jessup (Jo Joyner)'s cervical cancer diagnosis on the soap last week.

EastEnders executive producer Bryan Kirkwood revealed that the soap's producers and Joyner visited Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust for research into the storyline.

"Eastenders has worked closely with experts in the field to ensure we accurately portray this sensitive issue," Kirkwood said in a news release. "Viewers will see how Tanya, a mother of three, will use her inner determination to deal with what will be one of the toughest challenges of her life."

The charity's director Robert Music explained that a soap such as EastEnders must depict the disease accurately and responsibly.

"It's incredibly important. Soaps have a real responsibility when they cover any sort of health issue to make sure that they get the facts right, whether it's a diagnosis, whether it's the treatment. It's about educating the general public who perhaps aren't aware of the disease, but also with cervical cancer, there are thousands of women out there who have been diagnosed or are living with this.

"It's very important to get the storyline right for them as well so that they're also confident and comfortable that the programme is acting responsibly.

"Certainly with regard to the character Tanya and her storyline, I think EastEnders have done a fantastic job, being very responsible. They've listened to us, wanted to work with us and other experts to make sure that every stage of the process that Tanya's going through is accurate."

Music added that Jo Joyner was "fantastic" when she visited the charity, and that she was "really hungry to learn, to understand what the impact was, and she felt a responsibility to get this right".

> EastEnders cancer plot is a responsibility, says Jo Joyner Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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