Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has revealed she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The 32-year-old professional dancer, who has partnered with stars including McFly’s Tom Fletcher, EastEnders actor James Bye, and comedian Brian Conley during her time on Strictly, shared the news on social media.
“Hey all, I’ve got some news which isn’t easy to share,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “I’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer but I’m determined to get back on that dance floor before you know it.”
Dowden’s diagnosis comes less than a year since she married her long-term dance partner Ben Jones.
She also suffers from the bowel condition Crohn’s disease.
“I’ve been through quite a lot in my life and this is another hurdle,” she told Hello! magazine, in an interview sharing further details of her illness and diagnosis. “But if I’m positive and strong, I’ve got a really good chance of getting back out on the dancefloor as soon as possible.”
How charity event ‘potentially saved my life’
In June 2022, Dowden took part in a 100km fundraising walk, CoppaTrek! With Gi – led by I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! winner and Tom Fletcher’s wife Giovanna Fletcher – in support of breast health awareness charity CoppaFeel!.
She told Hello! it was this event that encouraged her to check her own breasts.
“CoppaFeel! has now potentially saved my life, because I don’t know how long this lump could have been there before I would have noticed and done something about it,” she said. “So me speaking out might end up saving some other people’s lives because they start checking their breasts.”
Treatment to include surgery
Dowden said she found a lump in her right breast in April, and was told earlier in May that she has grade three breast cancer.
“My doctor explained to me that there are three grades, and three is the most aggressive, but they feel like they’ve caught mine early and to not be too alarmed because grade three would be expected in somebody of my age,” she said.
Doctors have since found a second lump and the dancer is now waiting for a full treatment plan, but says it will “definitely include surgery”.
Strictly stars and other celebrities are among those who have sent messages of support to Dowden on Instagram.
TV and radio presenter Clara Amfo, who appeared on the show in 2020, wrote: “Darling Amy, sending you all the healing strength and love.”
Social media star Joe Sugg, who took part in 2018, said: “Sending you all the love, best wishes and strength Amy.”
Dancers including Diane Buswell and Oti Mabuse also shared messages, with Buswell writing: “Our Welsh dragon is going to fight this !!!! and I can not wait for the moment you are back on that dance floor with us. We love you so much Amy.”