Thursday , April 18 2024

Amy Dowden discusses her next career move and reveals how her cancer battle impacted her marriage with husband Ben Jones: ‘We are stronger than ever right now’

Amy Dowden discussed her next career move and opened up about how her cancer battle impacted her marriage with Ben Jones.

The Strictly star, 33, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2023 – but happily revealed on Friday she is finally cancer-free.

She was diagnosed in May last year and underwent a mastectomy in July, taking time off from Strictly Come Dancing while she underwent treatment.

During a candid chat with The Mirror, she said: ‘Since my diagnosis in May, he hasn’t taken a break.

‘He’s self-employed and works at our dance school. He’s been looking after me or working so he didn’t get a weekend off or a holiday or anything.’

Amy Dowden discussed her next career move and opened up about how her cancer battle impacted her marriage with Ben Jones (pictured together)

Amy Dowden discussed her next career move and opened up about how her cancer battle impacted her marriage with Ben Jones (pictured together)

The Strictly star, 33, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2023 - but happily revealed on Friday she is finally cancer-free

The Strictly star, 33, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2023 – but happily revealed on Friday she is finally cancer-free

The dancer explained Ben didn’t take a break between May and Christmas last year, adding he had ‘so much worry and anxiety’.

Amy frankly admitted everything was so ‘wrapped up’ around her hospital appointments, that the couple haven’t had ‘the time that we needed to as a husband and wife would’.

But the pair seems to be catching up quickly – as they soaked the sun during a Caribbean honeymoon as a gift of ITV’s Lorraine.

The pro dancer said the romantic getaway was ‘lovely’ and made both realise how much a break time was needed and admitted they are ‘stronger than ever right now’. 

Amy has also mentioned about her future career plans, hinting to a possible new opportunity: ‘I would love for BBC One to pick up Dare To Dance and go to the whole of the UK to share my joy of dance.’

The ballroom sensation spoke about the importance of being able to carry on with her TV work during her cancer battle, explaining that it gave her ‘something to get up for’ every day.

She hopes a third series gets approved, as she is looking forward to come back on the dance floor very soon and is ‘ready to dig deeper into it now’.

Sharing a jubilant picture on Friday, Amy announced the joyful news: ‘NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE! Words I dreamed of! My biggest accomplishment yet!

Talking about her husband Ben, she admitted: 'He's self-employed and works at our dance school. He's been looking after me or working so he didn't get a weekend off or a holiday or anything'

Talking about her husband Ben, she admitted: ‘He’s self-employed and works at our dance school. He’s been looking after me or working so he didn’t get a weekend off or a holiday or anything’

But the pair seems to be catching up quickly - as they soaked the sun during a Caribbean honeymoon as a gift of ITV's Lorraine in a pre-recorded segment that aired earlier this week

But the pair seems to be catching up quickly – as they soaked the sun during a Caribbean honeymoon as a gift of ITV’s Lorraine in a pre-recorded segment that aired earlier this week

The pro dancer said the romantic getaway was 'lovely' and made both realise how much a break time was needed and admitted they are 'stronger than ever right now'

The pro dancer said the romantic getaway was ‘lovely’ and made both realise how much a break time was needed and admitted they are ‘stronger than ever right now’ 

Amy has also mentioned about her future career plans, hinting to a possible new opportunity: 'I would love for BBC One to pick up Dare To Dance and go to the whole of the UK to share my joy of dance'

Amy has also mentioned about her future career plans, hinting to a possible new opportunity: ‘I would love for BBC One to pick up Dare To Dance and go to the whole of the UK to share my joy of dance’ 

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‘I won’t be getting the all clear for 5 years especially with a hormone fed cancer. But it was all worth it. Words I never thought I’d hear at one point.

‘So grateful for all the care I received and continue to have.

‘To my husband, family and friends who supported me unconditionally and to you guys! Thank you!’

She continued: ‘I will still need a monthly injection for 5 years and regular check ups.

‘Chemo and this past year has certainly took its toll on my body both physically and mentally, so I’ll be taking the next few months to heal and recover.

‘I have so much to strive and live for, and so grateful for another chance at life! Something I know not all get. I certainly see life differently and my life has changed forever!

‘Cancer affects too many so I will continue to do all I can to raise awareness and make sure I get as many as I can to.

‘It’s time to look ahead after what’s been the toughest year, and one I certainly didn’t expect!

‘Dance floor I’m coming for you! Welsh love, always Amy x.’

Sharing a jubilant picture on Friday, Amy announced the joyful news: 'NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE! Words I dreamed of! My biggest accomplishment yet!

Sharing a jubilant picture on Friday, Amy announced the joyful news: ‘NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE! Words I dreamed of! My biggest accomplishment yet!

While she will not get the all-clear for five years and will still need treatment, she thanked her family and friends for their support amid her 'toughest year'

While she will not get the all-clear for five years and will still need treatment, she thanked her family and friends for their support amid her ‘toughest year’

The news comes a fortnight after Amy was last hospitalised. 

Amy had been placed in a respiratory unit amid her breast cancer battle as she shared pictures from her hospital bed. 

Keeping her fans updated, she wrote: ‘So last week didn’t exactly go to plan. Feeling much better now and still taking it easy. 

‘But can’t thank the NHS and the care I received on the respiratory unit enough. Also to my family and Ben of course. Always dropping everything and spending endless hours next to my bed while I mainly slept.

‘Feeling much better and thanks for the many messages after going quiet. Off to oncology unit today for my monthly injection, (missed it last week due to being poorly). 

‘How is everyone? The sun is shining and I certainly can’t wait for spring.’

On Tuesday, Amy appeared on Lorraine in a pre-recorded video from her romantic trip to Grenada with Ben.

Host Lorraine Kelly passed on a health update from Amy, saying: ‘You might have seen Amy was in hospital last week, but just to reassure you, she says she’s very much on the mend and of course we’re sending our love to her.’

During the segment, viewers got a chance to see Amy and Ben soaking up the Caribbean sunshine, while Amy revealed the trip had allowed her to forget about her cancer.

She told viewers: ‘This past year has been tough but I am determined to get my life back on track.’

On Tuesday, Amy appeared on Lorraine in a pre-recorded video from her romantic trip to Grenada with Ben

On Tuesday, Amy appeared on Lorraine in a pre-recorded video from her romantic trip to Grenada with Ben 

Host Lorraine Kelly passed on a health update from Amy, saying: 'You might have seen Amy was in hospital last week, but just to reassure you, she says she's very much on the mend and of course we're sending our love to her'

Host Lorraine Kelly passed on a health update from Amy, saying: ‘You might have seen Amy was in hospital last week, but just to reassure you, she says she’s very much on the mend and of course we’re sending our love to her’

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The dancer and her husband enjoyed a slew of activities on the trip, including boat trips, massages, scuba diving and lots of swimming.

During a romantic BBQ dinner on the beach, Amy admitted: ‘[The trip has] definitely been what I needed. I can’t quite believe we’re here. This is literally paradise.’

Ben then gushed: ‘It’s been amazing, I wouldn’t want to be here with anyone else apart from you.’ 

Speaking about the getaway, Amy said: ‘I didn’t realise how much I really needed this trip, both Ben and I. 

‘Escapism from my reality really. Getting some fresh air, some vitamin D and just some quality time together away from the stress that we’ve had and the hospital appointments and the medication and the worries and just getting away. 

‘To be honest with you I’ve not thought about my cancer once since I have been here.’

She also opened up on her hopes for the year and how her values have changed after the challenging past months.

She said: ‘I guess I’ve been in a very aesthetic world and since losing my hair, my eyelashes, my eyebrows – yes it’s growing back – but I guess you learn the true values of life when you hit rock bottom. 

‘For me it’s just cherish every moment, take every opportunity, spend time with your loved ones and remind them how much you love them every day.’

Earlier Amy revealed she was hospitalised after suffering from respiratory problems as she shared pictures from the ward

Earlier Amy revealed she was hospitalised after suffering from respiratory problems as she shared pictures from the ward 

Amy shared a positive post after ending up in hospital and said she was starting to feel much better

Amy shared a positive post after ending up in hospital and said she was starting to feel much better

Amy voiced her determination to return to the Strictly dancefloor once again, saying: ‘The aim for this year now is definitely to get as healthy as I possibly can and as fit as I possibly can. I’ve not been able to go to the gym, been able to dance for so many months.

‘And I know it’s going to be a long journey ahead but I’m determined to get back on that dancefloor, back with my Strictly family and just to grab life and grab every opportunity that comes my way and to be present. 

‘It’s definitely making me feel more positive moving forward to 2024.’

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and affects more than two MILLION women a year

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. In the US, it strikes 266,000 each year and kills 40,000. But what causes it and how can it be treated?

What is breast cancer?

It comes 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 tissue it is called ‘invasive’. Some people are diagnosed with ‘carcinoma in situ’, where no cancer cells have grown beyond the duct or lobule.

Most cases develop in those over the age of 50 but younger women are sometimes affected. Breast cancer can develop in men, though this is rare.

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Staging indicates 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 ‘out of control’.

Although breast cancer can develop for no apparent reason, there are some risk factors that can increase the chance, such as genetics.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

The usual first symptom is a painless lump in the breast, although most 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.

How is breast cancer diagnosed?

  • Initial assessment: A doctor examines the breasts and armpits. They may do tests such as a mammography, a special x-ray of the breast tissue which can indicate the possibility of tumours.
  • Biopsy: A biopsy is when a small sample of tissue is removed from a part of the body. The sample is then examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells. The sample can confirm or rule out cancer.

If you are confirmed to have breast cancer, further tests may be needed to assess if it has spread. For example, blood tests, an ultrasound scan of the liver or a chest X-ray.

How is breast cancer treated?

Treatment options which may be considered include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment. Often a combination of two or more of these treatments are used.

  • Surgery: Breast-conserving surgery or the removal of the affected breast depending on the size of the tumour.
  • Radiotherapy: A treatment which uses high energy beams of radiation focused on cancerous tissue. This kills cancer cells, or stops them from multiplying. It is mainly used in addition to surgery.
  • Chemotherapy: A treatment of cancer by using anti-cancer drugs which kill cancer cells, or stop them from multiplying.
  • Hormone treatments: Some types of breast cancer are affected by the ‘female’ hormone oestrogen, which can stimulate the cancer cells to divide and multiply. Treatments which reduce the level of these hormones, or prevent them from working, are commonly used in people with breast cancer.

How successful is treatment?

The outlook is best in those who are diagnosed when the cancer is still small, and has not spread. Surgical removal of a tumour in an early stage may then give a good chance of cure.

The routine mammography offered to women between the ages of 50 and 70 means more breast cancers are being diagnosed and treated at an early stage.

For more information visit breastcancernow.org or call its free helpline on 0808 800 6000

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