Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden opens up about breast cancer diagnosis and surgery to remove two tumours
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Strictly’s Amy Dowden said she has been ‘left in tears’ after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The 32-year-old professional ballroom dancer made public her illness in May after discovering a lump while preparing for her belated honeymoon with husband Ben Jones in April.
Speaking for the first time since the diagnosis in an interview with The Mirror, Amy said she would ‘randomly cry’ and worry the disease was ‘spreading inside’ ahead of her single mastectomy - an operation to remove a breast to treat the illness.
Amy said she had undergone surgery last Friday to remove two tumours and three further cancer “specks”, plus some lymph nodes, from her right breast, which have now been sent for analysis.
She said: “The cancer is in the lab now, which is the most important thing. The hardest time was waiting for surgery, thinking ‘I have cancer inside me’. You’re thinking ‘It’s grade three, what if it’s spreading, what if it spreads tonight?’
“The feeling of it made me feel disgusted, disgusting. That’s the time I was randomly crying, emotional. But we drove away and I thought, ‘It’s gone. I’m a doer, I feel we have done something.”
Amy said she now has to wait until next week for her histology report to tell her what stage her cancer is at, and if it has spread. Only then will she know what treatment is needed.
Doctors were able to reconstruct her breast, inserting a small implant as part of her three-hour surgery last Wednesday. She said: I haven’t looked, I’m waiting for the bruising and swelling to go down. I don’t want to shock or upset myself.”
She also admitted she had not been checking her breasts until last year during a trek with the breast cancer charity Coppafeel!, organised by Giovanna Fletcher, the wife of McFly’s Tom, Amy’s 2021 Strictly partner, prompted her.
Thanking the charity for saving her life, she said if the discovery was made three months later, it could have resulted in a “very different story.” She said the tumour was so virulent it had “doubled in size” between scans.
She revealed Ben was “a bit in denial” and thought it was going to be benign. Both then tried to carry on as normal as they waited for the results, where they even did two dance shows.
She said: “Then I had a phone call to say we needed to speak to the doctor in person and you just knew then.”
She also encouraged her friends to feel her lump in her bid to raise awareness. She said: “I want to get people to check, and I wanted them to be aware of what they’re looking for... I’ve had so many messages from women who have started checking. Even if 10 people start, I’ll have done my job."