Hollyoaks: Steph struggles to face up to the Big C

Hollyoaks Carley Stenson reveals that when Steph tries to hide her illness it’s up to Tom to be the grown-up…

What type of cancer does Steph have?

“It’s cervical cancer. The storyline begins with a doctor breaking the news to Steph, but the viewers don’t see it all. They just see her walking through the village afterwards looking upset.”

Does this come out of the blue for Steph or did she half suspect?

“To be honest she’s been having some health problems. She may have missed a smear and she’s ignored all the signs.”

Has her cancer been fully diagnosed?

“She’s been told she needs follow-up tests. Her initial reaction is to ignore the letter telling her to go for an appointment with the oncologist. She thinks, ‘Well, they haven’t actually said I’ve got cancer yet so if I don’t go I haven’t got it.'”

That’s very foolish…

“It is, but it’s her way of dealing with it. She’s simply too scared to go.”

Does she confide in anyone?

“No. Talking about it will make it real…”

Steph and Gilly have finally admitted their love for each other… Can’t she tell him about it?

“She should, but she doesn’t. They’ve only just got together and she wants

to spare him the pain of having a girlfriend with cancer. She’s also worried it might put him off her.”

Surely he guesses something is wrong?

“He’s confused by her sudden coolness and assumes she wants to break up with him.”

What happens when Nancy finds the doctor’s letter?”

“She tells Steph she must see the specialist straight away. Nancy goes with her and Steph is really grateful for her support.”

How does her secret get out?

“Tom overhears Nancy and Steph talking and does what Steph should have done and tells Jack and Frankie the news.”

Does Steph tell Gilly now?

“She’s about to after Jack encourages her to, but she finds Gilly hugging Jem. It’s innocent but Steph’s heartbroken.”

Surely Steph and Gilly aren’t finished?

“They really love each other and when Gilly knows the truth I’m sure he’ll support Steph.”

What research have you done into cervical cancer?

“I’m already involved in promoting the cervical jab in my area through my friend who’s a nurse. I talked to her about what happens when you have an abnormal smear and I got myself checked out. No one likes having smear tests,but it’s really important to have them done regularly.”

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