EastEnders exit sealed as soap favourite ignores serious diagnosis?

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EastEnders is known for bringing awareness to all kinds of illnesses and situations, and one current plotline is exploring male breast cancer. Stuart (played by Ricky Champ) was told he had the condition a few weeks ago but has refused to tell his wife Rainie Highway (Tanya Franks) about his diagnosis. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, radiation oncologist doctor Alexandra Haas discussed the illness and the risks involved with ignoring a diagnosis.

Stuart’s immediate response upon finding out he had cancer was to storm out of the doctor’s office in denial.

The Walford undertaker later began drinking in The Vic to drown his sorrows and was helped out by Sonia (Natalie Cassidy) when Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) told him he had to leave.

A devastated Stuart ended up confiding in Sonia about his diagnosis but is yet to tell the truth to his wife, Rainie.

After she continued to check up on him, Rainie became suspicious about her husband, but he ended up telling her it was Sonia who has cancer.

As a radiation oncologist at the Proton Therapy Center in Prague, Czech Republic, doctor Haas is an expert on the subject.

She explained: “As with all cancer diagnoses, it is important to catch it as early as possible and before it spreads to other areas of the body.

“This is why people shouldn’t put off seeing a doctor.”

She added: “The chances of recovery for male breast cancer depend on how soon the cancer is detected.

“Women tend to be much more aware of symptoms and are rightly encouraged to monitor any changes in the breast.

“Men are less aware of the symptoms and as such may delay seeking medical attention.

“Because male breast cancer is rare, the treatment recommendations are typically extrapolated from data available from clinical trials enrolling female patients.

“Most of the diagnosed cases are advanced stage ductal invasive carcinomas, express hormone receptors in the great majority.

“They present usually as a painless retroareolar mass that requires triple assessment.

“The diagnosis needs a high index of suspicion primarily due to the unawareness of such a cancer in males.”

On advice to men who think they may have noticed some signs indicating they could have breast cancer, Dr Haas commented: “Seeking medical advice for any changes in the body is nothing to be ashamed of.

“If you notice anything you are unsure of, call your GP. If detected early breast cancer in men is treatable.”

Unfortunately, EastEnders’ Stuart has remained in denial for weeks.

Missing appointments and not receiving treatment could lead to devastating consequences.

Could the favourite’s exit be sealed by his refusal to get treatment?

The decision might see Stuart leaving it too late to receive treatment for cancer, and he could end up dying of the illness.

With a baby on the way for him and Rainie, Stuart’s potential death would be a devastating twist in the couple’s journey to becoming parents.

Dr Haas explained: “Health and cancer can be difficult for some people to talk about.

“It is a very personal issue and how open you are very much varies from person to person.

“Some people feel as if they can’t speak to their friends and family as they don’t want to worry them.

“I think it’s important for people to seek help from their support network.

“Often when people start to open up, they find people share their own experiences which can provide comfort and reassurance.”

On the soap’s handling of the storyline, the medical expert added: “It’s so important to raise awareness of all cancers, and especially the rarer ones.

“Soaps such as EastEnders have a great platform to raise awareness and if this storyline helps one person, then it’s made a positive difference.”

EastEnders continues on Tuesday at 7:30pm on BBC One.

For support and information, visit https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/.

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