Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Amy Dowden has revealed she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
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 dance floor before you know it.”
Dowden went to the GP after realising the lump had grown after her holiday. Last week she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer.
She told Hello Magazine: “My doctor explained to me that there are three grades, and three is the most aggressive, but they feel like they’ve caught mine early and to not be too alarmed because grade three would be expected in somebody of my age.
“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.”
What are the signs to know?
Many women know that a lump can be a possible symptom of breast cancer, but there are other signs of the disease to look for,” says Manveet Basra, head of public health and wellbeing at Breast Cancer Now.
“While most breast changes, including lumps, won’t be cancer, it’s important to contact your GP as soon as possible if you notice a change to your breast that’s new or unusual for you, as the sooner breast cancer is found, the more successful treatment is likely to be.”
Clare O’Neill from CoppaFeel!, wants everyone to be breast aware, “Because people of all ages and genders have breast tissue”, she says.
She recommends checking your breasts or pecs once a month, while adding: “It can be normal to have pain and lumps around the time of your period.”
So what symptoms other than lumps should you be aware of? If you see “any puckering, thickening, dimpling or rash of the skin, talk to your doctor”, advises O’Neill.
“Also talk to your doctor if you notice a change in direction of the nipple or any bleeding or discharge from the nipple, or swelling of the chest or armpit. Breast awareness is not supposed to be scary, it’s about empowering people to know their bodies.”
How to check your breasts
“Checking your breasts only takes a few minutes. It could be when getting dressed, when showering or putting on moisturiser,” says Basra.
“It’s important to remember to check your whole breast area, your armpits and up to your collarbone (upper chest) for changes. There’s no special technique, it’s as simple as TLC: Touch, Look, Check.”
See your GP if you have any worries about possible symptoms, and you can call Breast Cancer Now’s free helpline on 0808 800 6000.