Amy Dowden celebrated her final round of chemotherapy on Thursday, ringing the traditional end of treatment bell to celebrate.
The Strictly Come Dancing professional, 33, admitted she had been ‘crying all morning’ as she arrived for her eighth and final round of chemo with her husband Ben.
She later shared a photo of herself and two others who had also completed their chemotherapy treatment.
Amy, who was officially diagnosed with the disease in May, found a lump in her right breast in April, a day before she and her husband Ben Jones jetted off for a belated honeymoon to the Maldives after their wedding last July.
‘It’s chemo number 8! The last one! We are finally here. I’ve cried all morning!’ Amy told her Instagram followers alongside a photo of her and Ben about to enter the hospital.
Milestone: Amy Dowden celebrated her final round of chemotherapy on Thursday, ringing the traditional end of treatment bell to celebrate alongside two others
End of chemo: Amy, who was officially diagnosed with the disease in May, found a lump in her right breast in April , a day before she and her husband jetted off for a belated honeymoon
‘Right an afternoon of chemo and then I’m so lucky and grateful to be able to ring that bell! Will never take it for granted! Thank you to the incredible Sheldon Unit! You are all amazing #nhs, all #trueheroes Right here goes! See you all later.’
Amy was later joined by two other ladies as ‘all three of us ring that chemo bell!’
‘32,35 and 26 when all diagnosed with breast cancer so please this is a note from us three to check your chest! Cancer doesn’t discriminate! Our wish to you all is the remember to monthly check! @kiimmbo.6 @kimberley_banfield’ Amy wrote alongside the momentous photo.
Amy confirmed last week that she would be completing chemotherapy, but explained she was facing further treatment.
Speaking in an Instagram video, Amy explained: ‘Four weeks after the last chemo, I have my MRI scan and then I find out if I need more surgery – or if I’m done.’
She added ‘well, I’m kind of not done, because for five years – I was a bit gutted when I found this out – I have to go back to the chemo ward.’
‘Obviously, I love all the nurses there, they’re incredible, the whole team are – but I have to go back and have an injection once a month. It’s either that, or have my ovaries removed, which I obviously don’t want.’
In another update last week Amy choked back tears on Instagram as she admitted she ‘hates looking at herself in the mirror at the moment’.
Emotional: The Strictly Come Dancing professional, 33, admitted she had been ‘crying all morning’ as she arrived for her eighth and final round of chemo with her husband Ben
Here we go! ‘It’s chemo number 8! The last one! We are finally here. I’ve cried all morning!’ Amy told her Instagram followers as her Strictly friends send their support
Tribute: Amy revealed she was wearing a t-shirt designed by cancer campaigner Nicky Newman’s family after she died in September from breast cancer
Cancer journey: Amy was later joined by two other ladies as she happily told fans: ‘All three of us ring that chemo bell!’
Speaking to her fans in a video, she said: ‘So I’ve just put some makeup on because I’m off to hospital in a bit, but this morning I just started my… I’m going to call it… my rehab, and I feel so good for it.
‘I’m not going to lie, like I hate looking at myself in the mirror at the moment. And I know so many of us who have been on this journey too feel the same.
‘Loosing my hair, look I’ve got hardly any of my eyelashes here, it looks like I have a lot on that one [pointing to eye], but I think it’s just the way I have done them, but I’ve lost so many of my eyelashes.
‘My eyebrows I got micro-bladed just before I started Chemo – I’m really grateful to have a few on top by the way – I know they’re not going to last long. So it looks like I have a lot but honestly I really haven’t.’
Amy discussed how she doesn’t feel ‘comfortable in her own skin’ due to her weight gain – from having to take steroids and not being able to dance.
Emotional: Amy choked back tears on Instagram last week as she admitted she ‘hates looking at herself in the mirror at the moment’
Brave: The Strictly star opened up about hormone treatment forcing her body into menopause and the fear she may not be able to have children with new husband Ben Jones
Honest: Amy recently discussed her ‘extremely tough’ battle with breast cancer during Channel 4 ‘s Stand Up To Cancer
Tough: She told host Davina McCall: ‘I’ve had sepsis, blood clots, I’ve had to have hormone treatment then being put into menopause’
She added: ‘I’ve gained some what quite a bit of weight due to steroids. I’m normally dancing all day, everyday and I haven’t been able to since May because I had my mastectomy and I had to wait six weeks.
‘Then I began chemo with my port with all the complications I’ve had there. So obviously I’ve gained weight.
‘I’ve gone up two dress sizes and all the way through I’ve told myself look all that matters now is getting myself well, getting through Chemo, getting through this but obviously I really don’t feel comfortable in my own skin. And you know I want to be back dancing.’
Emotionally looking into the future and trying to keep positive, Amy added: ‘I may not be the same Amy ever again, you know in terms of me mentally and physically because I’ve had a mastectomy but – I’m getting a little emotional – I have began that journey.
‘Obviously I’m no where near to where I am before but I just can’t wait to get back into the gym and do some gentle exercises and start this journey.
‘I want to come back stronger and I know it’s not going to come back overnight… my body has been through it…. but I started that journey today.
‘I just can’t wait to get to the fittest and healthiest Amy. I’m not going to rush but 2024 I’m going to make sure I can achieve the best version of me.’
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.
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