Corrie's Hayley Cropper has cancer

Julie Hesmondhalgh

Coronation Street's Hayley Cropper is to be diagnosed with cancer next week after routine medical tests show up abnormalities

Coronation Street's Hayley Cropper is to be diagnosed with cancer.

The factory worker - played by Julie Hesmondhalgh - sees her world turned upside down next week when she receives the news that she has fatal stage two pancreatic cancer after a routine medical test reveals she has abnormalities.

Julie said: "I do remember reading the scripts for the first time and being inconsolable.

"Every single page, I was heartbroken because it's a really strange thing. She's not me, but she's a massive part of me.

"She's been a huge part of my life for over 15 years."

The 43-year-old actress announced earlier this year that she'll be leaving the Cobbles behind after playing the show's first transsexual character, but TV bosses have agreed the only way to separate the favourite couple, Roy (David Neilson) and Hayley, is if she is struck down with a terminal illness.

Julie explained: "I do feel really honoured to be given the opportunity to play this storyline because cancer in general is something that affects everybody.

"Hayley's issues of being a transgender was a great opportunity to bring an unusual issue into people's living rooms and to teach them about something that was new to many.

"This is a chance to go through something that has touched pretty much everybody in one way or another. It's universal, it's about someone you care about and it's about how they're just muddling through.

"They have their highs and lows, but it's not without its comedy. There are moments where it is heartbreaking, but it's not all weepy.

"For the most part it's just Roy and Hayley dealing with it in a very 'Roy and Hayley' way."