Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Amy Dowden has revealed she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Caerphilly-born Dowden, who joined the BBC dance competition show in 2017, shared the news on Instagram, telling fans that she is “determined” to return to the dancefloor as soon as she can.
The 32-year-old wrote: “Hey all, I’ve got some news which isn’t easy to share. I’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer but I’m determined to get back on that dancefloor before you know it.” Dowden added a pink heart, signing off with “Welsh love Amy” with a kiss.
She said she found a lump in her breast in April, the day before going to the Maldives on her delayed honeymoon with fellow professional dancer Ben Jones, and hopes to raise awareness of the disease.
Dowden said that since realising the lump had grown after her holiday, she went to the GP before being sent for an emergency referral.
She told Hello! magazine: “Everything happened so fast within that day. I went on my own and didn’t tell anybody, but when I was there, the nurse said to me, ‘You need to have somebody here,’ and that’s when Ben found out.
“They told me it was looking very suspicious and to prepare for the worst, hope for the best. They did the biopsy and then we had a wait.”
Last week, Dowden was told she had grade 3 breast cancer.
She said: “My doctor explained to me that there are three grades, and 3 is the most aggressive, but they feel like they’ve caught mine early and to not be too alarmed because grade 3 would be expected in somebody of my age.”
It comes after she revealed she had Crohn’s disease in 2019, in a bid to help others with the condition.
She said: “With what I’ve done for Crohn’s, I want to do the same here. If I can try and turn this negative into a positive, it’s going to help me get through this. You just don’t ever think it’s going to happen to you. I hadn’t thought it was possible to get breast cancer at my age.
“My mum has had breast cancer, but she had it at a later age, in her 50s.”
The Welsh dancer said her former Strictly dance partner and member of British boyband McFly Tom Fletcher, and his wife Giovanna, offered her support after discovering the news.
She said: “Tom and Giovanna got straight in the car and came to see me when I told them the news, and we went for a walk.
“Giovanna’s encouragement has been central to my decision to share my story in the hopes of helping others.”
Dowden married Jones in a star-studded Welsh ceremony last July, after becoming engaged on New Year’s Eve in 2017.
The occasion featured a performance by Fletcher, and an array of Strictly stars were in attendance, including fellow professional Dianne Buswell, who served as bridesmaid.
Sharing messages of support on social media, Buswell said on hearing the news: “Our Welsh dragon is going to fight this!!!! and I can not wait for the moment you are back on that dancefloor with us. We love you so much Amy.”
Meanwhile other Strictly stars, including Johannes Radebe, Karen Hauer, Gorka Márquez and Nadiya Bychkova, also sent their well wishes.