Entertainment

Amy Dowden on hopes to return to Strictly after latest cancer update

After her latest health check revealed ‘no evidence of disease’, she has now set her sights on getting back to the dancefloor.

Strictly’s Amy Dowden hopes to return to the BBC’s flagship show after cancer treatment
Amy Dowden Strictly’s Amy Dowden hopes to return to the BBC’s flagship show after cancer treatment (Doug Peters/PA)

Amy Dowden has said she is hoping to return to Strictly Come Dancing after she found it “so cruel” to have to watch from the sidelines last year while undergoing cancer treatment.

The Welsh professional dancer, 33, was too ill to compete in the most recent series of the BBC competition after she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer last May and underwent a mastectomy.

After her latest health check revealed “no evidence of disease”, she has now set her sights on getting back to the dancefloor.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast on Friday, Dowden said: “This is the longest I’ve never danced for since May so I need to get my body back into it.

“And obviously, my body’s been through so much with chemo so it’s building up gradually.

“But I have missed it so much. I used to go and support them and it was bittersweet.

“I was supporting my best friends but I didn’t want anything more than to be on that dancefloor. It was so cruel.

“So that’s the aim, is that they’ll have me back to be back on that dancefloor with my best friends doing what I love most later this year.”

While she could not compete in the last series of Strictly, she performed in the opening professionals’ dance number during the final in December, and had made a surprise appearance in an earlier episode to read out the voting terms and conditions and give an update on her treatment.

Last week, Dowden announced the positive health update but said she will not receive the “all clear” for five years due to her “hormone-fed” type of cancer, and that during that time she will continue to receive monthly injections and regular check-ups.

Reflecting on the development, she said: “It’s the best I could have hoped for, I’m smiling, I’ve got a spring in my step.

“I will need treatment once a month for five years, which is normal because I need to shut down all my hormones so it doesn’t feed the cancer, but I’m delighted, life resumes for me.”

EastEnders actor James Bye dancing with Amy Dowden on Strictly Come Dancing in 2022
Strictly Come Dancing 2022 EastEnders actor James Bye dancing with Amy Dowden on Strictly Come Dancing in 2022

Dowden was diagnosed shortly after filming started on the second series of her BBC show Dare To Dance, where she travels across Wales giving people who want the chance to surprise their family and friends by learning a dance routine.

She said she wanted to continue with the series as she did not want cancer to “affect them and their journey”, so they worked “really hard” to film around her treatment.

The dancer explained they completed much of the footage around her mastectomy operation but before she started chemotherapy treatment, and that her Strictly family stepped in to help when she was recovering from surgery.

Dowden said the show was “exactly what she needed”, and she “can’t wait” for viewers to watch the journey of each of the people taking on the dancing challenge.

She added: “It’s so rewarding and going on the journey with them, you have moments where they’re crying and they don’t believe themselves, and then there’s that moment where it just clicks and you can just see and their confidence develops, and they’re watching all their families’ reaction because they have no idea when they come out to perform.

“Honestly, it’s insane – it’s lush, as we say in Wales.”

Appearing on BBC Breakfast on St David’s Day, Caerphilly-born Dowden also spoke about her love of the day from childhood as her school would host competitions between the respective houses, including a number of dance competitions.

Asked if she would win all the competitions, she said: “Sort of… but I used to get all my friends involved as well and I was team captain with a really good friend of mine.”

Amy Dowden’s Dare To Dance returns to BBC One Wales and iPlayer at 7pm on Friday.

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