Amy Dowden has shared the emotional moment she shaved her head after losing her hair during treatment for breast cancer.
The Strictly Come Dancing pro dancer called it ‘the hardest step so far’ as she posted a heartbreaking video of herself surrounded by loved ones as her hair was cut off.
Amy explained how she was ‘taking control’ after feeling like she has had ‘so much taken away from me’ since being diagnosed with breast cancer in May.
The dancer, who has been forced to sit out the 2023 series of Strictly, said she wanted to reclaim her identity after missing so much of her life as a dancer.
With the help of family and friends, who all took turns cutting a lock of Amy’s hair, the dancer tearfully confronted her new look with a smile at the end of the emotional video.
‘Hardest step’: Amy Dowden has shared the emotional moment she decided to shave her head after losing her hair during her treatment for breast cancer
Support: The Strictly Come Dancing pro dancer called it ‘the hardest step so far’ as she posted a heartbreaking video of herself surrounded by loved ones as her hair was cut off (Amy’s husband Ben is pictured cutting off a lock of her hair)
‘This too shall pass,’ she wrote in the caption. ‘Taking control- The hardest step so far. I tried my best to save it. I know it’s only hair but these past few months I’ve had what feels like so much taken away from me that has made me not feel like Amy.’
‘I’m missing every possible aspect of dancing. I just wanted to keep my identity with my hair and I tried telling myself it wouldn’t go. But I would dread the pain of waking up to the shredding everyday.’
She continued: ‘I’ve not been able to take control of this journey so far, but as you can see with some of my loved ones I took the courage and CONTROL.’
‘It’s going to take some time to get use to and learn to love and embrace but, I’m now focussing-not on the hair I’m losing but the hair I’m going to get back and the happy dancing, tea lover who talks way to fast whilst rolling every rrrrr who is still there inside with or without hair!’
She added that she has also reached the halfway point in her chemotherapy treatment, explaining: ‘Since taking control, I feel I can now see the finish line. This for me was a hurdle I couldn’t even bring myself to think or speak about. I’ve done it and I’ve also crossed the half way chemo line!’
‘Im feeling empowered and positive! To everyone on their own journey, whatever that maybe, I’m sending love, power, strength and courage.
‘I found my courage for this step and I’m proud.’
‘(There are some fun before and after vids/reels coming, but I wanted to share the truth and hopefully help others, and bring normality to a beautiful bald head).’
Control: Amy explained how she was ‘taking control’ after feeling like she has had ‘so much taken away from me’ since being diagnosed with breast cancer in May
Looking forward: The dancer, who has been forced to sit out the 2023 series of Strictly, said she wanted to reclaim her identity after missing so much of her life as a dancer (pictured in January 2023 on the Strictly live tour)
Helping hands: Amy’s family and friends all took turns cutting a lock of Amy’s hair before her head was shaved
Identity: Amy told fans that she ‘wanted to keep my identity with my hair and I tried telling myself it wouldn’t go. But I would dread the pain of waking up to the shredding everyday’
Tears: Amy broke down as more of her hair was cut off, but told fans she was ready to confront her fear after worrying about losing her hair for so long
Smiling: The dancer tearfully confronted her new look with a smile at the end of the emotional video, taking photos of her shaven head
Amy was sent messages of support and love from her Strictly family with Dianne Buswell commenting: ‘You are still all the things you were before just with added courage strength and determination one thing about you is that you don’t let anything take over!’
‘You always said to me i’m not amy with crohns i’m amy the dancer �� your still amy the dancer and always will be i can not wait to have you back on the dance floor with us chatting away making endless cups of tea! we all love you so much and i’m such a proud friend you are taking control.’
Graziano Di Prima added: ‘The strongest woman I ever met!! love you so much amy!!’
Last weekend Strictly paid an emotional tribute to Amy after the dancer was forced to miss the series’ glitzy launch on Saturday amid her cancer battle.
Hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly called her the show’s ‘Welsh Dragon’ as they dedicated the judges and professional dancers’ routine to her.
Caerphilly-born Amy, 33, was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier in May and began chemotherapy after doctors discovered another type of cancer in her body, meaning she was unable to be paired with a celebrity for the new series.
Ahead of the show-stopping routine Tess said: ‘We are of course, missing one of our professional dancers.
Family: Amy’s parents were among her loved ones who cut the first locks off Amy’s hair as she was surrounded by support on the tough day
Love: Amy’s twin sister Becky was also present, with the Strictly star previously thanking her sibling for supporting her throughout her treatment
Messages: Amy was sent messages of support and love from her Strictly family with Dianne Buswell commenting: ‘You are still all the things you were before just with added courage’
‘Our gorgeous Amy Dowden is unwell and she can’t be with us for the start of the series.’
She went on: ‘But she is our Welsh dragon and we know she will be back soon.’
Claudia then interjected as she said: ‘Amy from all your Strictly family we are sending all our love and we cannot wait to have you back on the dance floor.’
Tess added: ‘This [dance] is for you!’.
Last week Amy revealed she’s been ‘extremely’ sick after her fourth round of chemotherapy.
The dancer, 33, wrote candidly in her Instagram Stories: ‘Chemo 4✅ Was extremely sick even with three types of anti sickness. Very tired too. Going to be resting up.’
The star has been open about the side effects of treatment, including hair loss, and confessed she was finding it tough.
Taking to her Instagram Stories last Monday before she shaved her head, Amy updated her followers on how she was doing and admitted things were ‘really hard’.
She said: ‘So many messages asking me how I’m coping with the hair loss and I’m not gonna lie, it is really hard.’
Trying to stay positive, she added: ‘I think I cry less now. To begin with, it was every day, but now I have meltdowns when I wash my hair once a week.
Tough: Last week Amy revealed she’s been ‘extremely’ sick after her fourth round of chemotherapy
Grateful: In August, Amy joined her fellow professionals in training as she shared a glam snap of herself after being Strictlyfied’ by the show’s hair and make-up team
‘For the last two weeks now, I haven’t brushed my hair and that has definitely helped.
‘Since I came out of hospital with the blood clots, I stopped brushing it myself because I was just getting distraught seeing how much was falling out.’
Amy explained that her husband and dance partner Ben Jones, who she married last year, has been helping by brushing her hair for her so she can’t see what’s falling out.
She explained: ‘I obviously am aware of it, but I’m not physically seeing or holding the hair that I’m losing and that for me is helping me big time.’
Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer in May, and revealed in July that doctors had discovered she has ‘another type of cancer’ after an MRI revealed more tumours in her body.
Talking about the news at the time Amy said: ‘For me, my journey, everything changed. I was originally going to have a lumpectomy, radiotherapy and hormone treatment.
‘But then, after my MRI, they found another tumour so then it changed into a mastectomy and then, after my mastectomy, unfortunately, they found even more tumours.
‘And my pathology wasn’t what they were expecting, and they found another type of cancer and then they told me I needed chemo – for me that was a massive blow.
‘It wasn’t in the plan, originally – and I know the plan you can’t get fixated on.
‘So, all of a sudden, then I realised, and you get scared, but the oncologist did say that with chemo I’ve got a really good chance of a cure.
Illness: The Strictly favourite was diagnosed with breast cancer in May and began chemotherapy after doctors discovered she was fighting another type of cancer too
‘I was really scared and I didn’t want to do chemo and for me straightaway it was my dancing, like, you can take away my boob but you can’t take my dancing away from me and that’s what I get really upset about.’
In August, Amy joined her fellow professionals in training as she shared a glam snap of herself after being Strictlyfied’ by the show’s hair and make-up team.
Amy announced her breast cancer diagnosis on Instagram in May, writing: ‘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.’
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.
Amy first discovered a lump in her breast the day before her honeymoon in April 2023 but opted not to tell her husband Ben straight away.
She told Hello! magazine that she felt a lump in her breast while taking a shower but decided to ‘keep an eye on it’ for a few weeks as she wasn’t sure if it would go away on its own.
She confessed: ‘I started to check it less because it was worrying me, and I didn’t want to flare my Crohn’s up. Then, once we were back home, I went to do a [dance] show with Ben and I was putting some shimmer on and the lump felt so much bigger. I just knew I needed to go to the doctors.’
Friends: On Tuesday Amy led the tributes to influencer Nicky Newman after her death from breast cancer at the age of 35
Message: Amy praised Nicky for the awareness she raised, writing on Instagram: ‘The most beautiful ray of sunshine who has done so much’
Love: Strictly Come Dancing paid an emotional tribute to Amy after the dancer was forced to miss the series’ glitzy launch on Saturday amid her ongoing cancer treatment
After being referred to the hospital by her GP she recalled: ‘Everything happened so fast within that day. I went on my own and didn’t tell anybody, but when I was there, the nurse said to me: “You need to have somebody here” and that’s when Ben found out.’
Speaking about how Ben has been supporting her through the journey, she revealed: ‘Ben only hears the positive, and then he only talks about the positive side of things.’
On Tuesday Amy led the tributes to influencer Nicky Newman after her death from breast cancer at the age of 35.
Amy praised Nicky for the awareness she raised, writing on Instagram: ‘The most beautiful ray of sunshine who has done so much and created a community and legacy that will live on.
‘I hope you know all the help and awareness you have done and will always continue to do so. I remember when I found out I needed a port your page I turned too!
‘I will forever hold onto your lovely voice notes and will always think of you when I say Welsh Love. Thank you for being utterly incredible and a TRUE INSPIRATION.
‘I promise to grab life and deeply miss your radiance and positivity X love to Mr G, your family, friends and huge community you created online.’
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
This post first appeared on Daily mail