Strictly Come Dancing bosses ‘won’t be casting a replacement’ for Amy Dowden after her breast cancer diagnosis aged 32 – as she admits she doesn’t know if she will be able to rejoin the BBC dance show
- Amy has battled gut condition Crohn’s Disease since she was a child and admitted she has already been through ‘quite a lot’ in her life
- She told how she found a lump in her breast before going on her belated honeymoon with her husband Ben Jones in April
Strictly Come Dancing bosses are reportedly not casting a replacement for Amy Dowden in the hopes she will be well enough to rejoin the show.
It comes after Amy revealed on Wednesday that she has been diagnosed with grade three breast cancer at the age of 32.
The Strictly Come Dancing professional shared her diagnosis on Instagram and discussed whether she can rejoin the BBC show for its new series later this year.
She revealed she found a lump in her breast the day before going on her honeymoon with husband Ben Jones in April.
Amy 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 dance floor before you know it. Welsh love Amy.’
Star dancer: Strictly Come Dancing bosses won’t be casting a replacement for Amy Dowden, according to reports
Sad news: Amy has revealed that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer aged 32 (pictured before her diagnosis)
The show is backing Amy in her recovery all the way and will ‘keep the door open’ for her potential return when she feels well enough.
Even if Amy can’t join the whole season, she may return for special episodes of the competition when it resumes in September.
An insider told The Sun newspaper: ‘They won’t be recasting a replacement for Amy and even if she isn’t well enough to take part in a full series, they’ll strive to have her back showcasing her amazing skills in some form.
‘That might be in the form of a performance with other pros or even this year’s Christmas special.
‘Either way the door remains open for her to return at a time and manner of her choosing’.
The dancer has battled gut condition Crohn’s disease since she was a child and said she has already been through ‘quite a lot’ in her life with health struggles.
She told Hello! Magazine: ‘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.’
Amy said it was taking part in the CoppaTrek! walk last June in support of breast health awareness charity CoppaFeel! that led her to discover her own cancer.
Health: The Strictly Come Dancing professional, 32, took to her Instagram Stories to share her health update, saying she is ‘determined’ to get back on the dance floor
Dancing: She admitted it wasn’t easy to share the news as she discussed whether she will be able to rejoin the BBC dance show for its new series later this year (pictured with James Bye)
She realised that she doesn’t ‘check her breasts’ and then made a conscious effort to check herself, saying CoppaFeel! has ‘potentially saved her life’.
‘I don’t know how long this lump could have been there before I would have noticed and done something about it,’ she added.
Amy said she found a lump in her right breast in April, a day before she and her husband flew to the Maldives for a belated honeymoon after their wedding last July.
The dancer said she was ‘in shock’ and decided to keep an eye on the lump, before going to the doctor when the lump grew on her return home.
She was immediately sent for an emergency referral, where she was told the lump looked ‘suspicious’ and to ‘prepare for the worst’.
What is breast cancer, how many people does it strike and what are the symptoms?
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. Each year in the UK there are more than 55,000 new cases, and the disease claims the lives of 11,500 women.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer develops from a cancerous cell which develops in the lining of a duct or lobule in one of the breasts.
When the breast cancer has spread into surrounding breast tissue it is called an ‘invasive’ breast cancer. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.
Most cases develop in women over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, though this is rare.
Staging means how big the cancer is and whether it has spread. Stage 1 is the earliest stage and stage 4 means the cancer has spread to another part of the body.
The cancerous cells are graded from low, which means a slow growth, to high, which is fast-growing. High-grade cancers are more likely to come back after they have first been treated.
What causes breast cancer?
A cancerous tumour starts from one abnormal cell. The exact reason why a cell becomes cancerous is unclear. It is thought that something damages or alters certain genes in the cell. This makes the cell abnormal and multiply.
There are some risk factors that can increase the chance of developing breast cancer, such as genetics.
What are the symptoms of breast cancer?
The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most breast lumps are not cancerous and are fluid filled cysts, which are benign.
The first place that breast cancer usually spreads to is the lymph nodes in the armpit. If this occurs you will develop a swelling or lump in an armpit.
For more information visit breastcancernow.org or call its free helpline on 0808 800 6000
After a biopsy, Amy was told she had grade three breast cancer, saying her first question was when she could get back on the dance floor.
Grade three cancer is when the cells look very different to normal breast cells and tend to spread more quickly. The grade describes how a cancer cell looks under a microscope.
It is different to a cancer stage, which describes the size of the cancer and how far it has spread. Amy is yet to find out what stage of cancer she has.
Amy said her cancer has been caught ‘early’ and she is now waiting for more information before she is given a full treatment plan, which will include surgery.
She is waiting for an MRI scan and a biopsy after medics found a second lump in her right breast, and she will be given a full prognosis after that step.
After sharing her diagnosis on Instagram, Amy was flooded with comments of support from her fellow Strictly pros and stars who appeared on the show.
Dianne Buswell said: ‘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.’
Oti Mabuse commented: ‘Sending you love and power and all the strength – you’re such an incredible woman love you Amy! Take care of yourself.’
Ellie Taylor, who competed on the show last year, said: ‘Oh beautiful Amy. Sending heaps of love. Xxx.’
Giovanna Fletcher added: ‘Love love love you. Xxxx.’
Karen Hauer posted: ‘We love you and we are here with you in every little step . You are strong and you will beat this ♥️.
Neil Jones wrote: ‘Amy, I know you will beat this 1 million percent.
‘Sending you all my love and positive energy. I can’t wait to dance with you again on the dance floor.’
Former contestant Alex Jones wrote: ‘Oh Amy! Thinking of you and sending you so much love. Cariad mawr.’
Former pro Kevin Clifton wrote: ‘We love you sis. Ur the best. U got this,’ while Katya Jones added: ‘We’re with you all the way! The strongest woman I know! Can’t wait to have you in the dance floor real soon!!’
Strictly’s 2018 winner Stacey Dooley commented: ‘all the love sis x.’
Former pro and It Takes Two host Janette Manrara commented: ‘If anyone one has the strength, it’s you. We are all by your side all the way. Love you to the moon and back’.
2016 winner Ore Oduba said: ‘Oh Amy. All our love, there is nothing YOU cannot fight. And what an almighty dance it’ll be when you’re back. So much love.’
Dr Ranj Singh, who previously competed on the show, said: ‘Sending you HUGE love and strength darling! Always here if you need anything at all.’
Joanne Clifton wrote: ‘Amy, sending you all the strength and power… we are all with you,’ while Gemma Atkinson added: ‘We’re all Fighting behind you all the way Amy!!!!! Sending so much love to you.’
Strictly’s head judge Shirley Ballas shared a lengthy message of support, writing: ‘@amy_dowden my precious girl. Nanny and I are thinking about you at this time. You are a strong example to so many of resilience which I’ve witnessed first hand.
‘A beautiful kind and funny young lady who will face things head on. You are sooo loved. I’ll see you soon my darling friend hugs and lots of warm cuddles.’
Lump: Amy explained how she found a lump in her breast before going on her honeymoon with her husband Ben Jones in April
Amy said she received heartfelt support from friends Giovanna and Tom Fletcher when she told them the news, saying they were ‘central’ in her decision to tell her story in a bid to help others.
Tyler West, who appeared on Strictly last year with Dianne Buswell, spoke about Amy’s diagnosis on Wednesday’s Lorraine.
He said: ‘She’s all right, Aims she’s the Welsh dragon, she’s a fighter, so strong, so inspirational, it was a massive shock the system for everyone to everyone this morning.
‘She is incredible, Amy, and I have no doubt she will be powering through it.’
Amy has dealt with an array of health struggles over the years after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 11.
Crohn’s disease is described by the NHS as a ‘lifelong condition’, which sees parts of the digestive system inflamed.
Among other symptoms, suffers can experience extreme abdominal pain, vomiting, exhaustion and diarrhoea.
In 2019, she revealed her secret battle with Crohn’s disease, with the star speaking out so she could help others suffering with the illness.
Speaking to Hello! magazine at the time, the dancer insisted that she doesn’t ‘want any sympathy’, emphasising that her condition doesn’t ‘define’ her.
Opening up on why she chose to keep her condition from the Strictly crew, she said: ‘When I got my job on Strictly Come Dancing, I didn’t want to be known as ‘Amy with Crohn’s’.
‘I wanted to establish myself as ‘Amy the dancer’ first. But I’ve done two seasons on the show now, and I think it’s important to speak out.’
She continued: ‘It will be a relief that people will finally know, but I don’t want any sympathy. It doesn’t define me, it’s just part of me, and I want this to be a positive story.’
Amy rose to fame on Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, joining the host of professional dancers on the popular show.
She tied the knot with her husband last July, exchanging vows in front of their family and friends at a five-star wedding venue in the Gower Peninsula, South Wales.
We’re with you! After sharing her diagnosis on Instagram, Amy was flooded with comments of support from her fellow Strictly pros and stars who appeared on the show
Wedding: She tied the knot with her husband Ben Jones last July, exchanging vows during a romantic ceremony at a five-star wedding venue in Gower Peninsula, South Wales
Career: Amy rose to fame on Strictly Come Dancing (pictured with James Bye on the show) back in 2017, joining the host of professional dancers on the popular show
Amy told Hello! magazine at the time: ‘It was a stunning venue. I always knew I wanted to get married in Wales. The day was a celebration of Ben and me.’
The pair were initially due to wed two years ago on July 25, 2020 – but the marriage was postponed due to Covid.
The two dancers met in 2011, but kept their romance secret for six years – previously admitting they were scared of what their teachers would say.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is an agonising digestive condition that blights the lives of 115,000 people in Britain and as many as 1.6 million in the US.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhoea and potentially dangerous weight loss. Magician Dynamo is a famous sufferer.
Eight out of ten patients will need a part of the intestine removed as it becomes so damaged it prevents digestion.
Its cause is still not known and there is currently no cure but some with the condition have considered their diet to be a factor.
However, bacteria is already known to play a major role in causing Crohn’s disease, in addition to genetics and diet.
Conventional treatment is with drugs that suppress the immune system’s production of a protein called TNF, which causes inflammation.
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