Carol Jackson
Carol Jackson, played by Lindsey Coulson, will discover a lump on her breast before Christmas

EastEnders matriarch Carol Jackson is to face a breast cancer battle in a hard-hitting new storyline set to unfold on screen in the coming weeks.

The Albert Square favourite's life will be turned upside down when she discovers a lump on her breast in the run-up to Christmas.

Viewers will see Jackson, played by Lindsey Coulson, face an agonising wait for a test result. She and her extended family will deal with the implications of the results in the New Year.

"This is a very important storyline as breast cancer is something that affects so many people," Coulson said.

"Through Carol's story I hope we can raise awareness of the impact of breast cancer on the people that have it and their families."

Soap bosses are working closely with health professionals and charities including Macmillan Cancer Support to ensure that the subject matter is handled sensitively.

Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said: "EastEnders has a long tradition of dealing with social issues and breast cancer is one that the majority of people have been affected by in some way.

"And this is not just a story about breast cancer. This is a story about women, about mothers and daughters, and ultimately about family. And with Lindsey Coulson, Michael French, Patsy Palmer and Natalie Cassidy giving powerhouse performances at its centre, this is a storyline that will inform, move, and shake up the audience as it shakes up the Jackson family."

Jackson is not the first character to be involved in a breast cancer plotline.

In 1996 Peggy Mitchell, played by Barbara Windsor was diagnosed with the disease and underwent a mastectomy after it returned in 1999.