Why This 'Jane the Virgin' Storyline Is Important

*Jane the Virgin spoilers below*

When you think of Xiomara Villanueva de la Vega, you probably think of Jane Villanueva's fun-loving, young and carefree mother who loves to sing and dance. You probably don't think of her as being intensely serious or emotional, which is fine, because up until now she normally isn't presented that way.

Andrea Navedo's Xiomara certainly faced hardships and ups and downs, but she'd never brought such strong emotions to viewers as she did in Chapter Seventy-Eight, the episode where Xiomara reveals she's been diagnosed with breast cancer and must decide if she wants a single or double mastectomy or a lumpectomy to combat the cancer. It's an intensely personal decision, but her whole family has an opinion on it. She first looks to Jane for advice, because her daughter had been her biggest confidant for years, but in the end, Xo realizes she needs to work this out with her husband, Rogelio. Rogelio proves to be a very caring husband, and they decide together that she only wants a single mastectomy. One of the things Jane the Virgin has always been strong on is the bond between female family members, but it looks like this is more an issue for Xo and Ro, not Xo, Jane and Alba.

Justin Baldoni directed the episode, and something viewers often forget is that Rafael had cancer, which Xo mentions when they briefly discuss it. Andrea Navedo managed to make the normally spirited Xo seem very small and unsure, causing viewers to feel sorry for her. The audience is certainly pulling for Xo to pull through and keep being the kickass wife, mother, grandmother and dancer that she is.

This storyline is important because it's real—cancer can and does affect anyone. Xo didn't even go into the hospital thinking something was seriously wrong, she had simply gotten an X-ray after falling during a dance performance and found out she had a lump. It's estimated that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women, but luckily, deaths from the issue have been decreasing since 2000! Jane the Virgin doing a cancer storyline reminds us just how unexpectedly anyone can face life-threatening illness. Don't forget to self-check for lumps, and be sure to see a doctor if anything isn't feeling quite right.

Jane the Virgin was just renewed for a fifth season, and we're hopeful that Xo is victorious over her cancer and shines even brighter in season five.

Thumbnail courtesy of the Huffington Post.