Amy Dowden attends NTAs during breast cancer battle as Strictly 'family' pay her tribute

The Strictly Come Dancing professional was first diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May and has spoken publicly about her treatment ever since.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 05: Amy Dowden (R) and sister Becky Dowden arrive at the National Television Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena on September 5, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Amy Dowden, right, and sister Becky Dowden attend the National Television Awards 2023. (Getty Images)

Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden made a rare red carpet appearance at the 2023 National Television Awards (NTAs), amid her breast cancer battle.

The 33-year-old professional dancer, who is undergoing her third round of chemotherapy, wore a pink tulle gown and a breast cancer awareness pin to the star-studded event on Tuesday night.

Due to the chemo, Dowden will not take part in Strictly this year – but hopes to make an appearance at some point either on the main show or in the spin-off series, It Takes Two. The dancing talent show won the NTA for Best Talent Show, with the cast paying tribute to Dowden as she joined them to accept the award on-stage.

Read more: Strictly Come Dancing stars pay tribute to Amy Dowden as she joins them on stage to collect National Television Award (Independent, 1-min read)

Amy Dowden arrives at the National Television Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena
Amy Dowden arrives at the National Television Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena. (Getty Images)

Her public outing comes after she gave her Instagram followers an update on her treatment, which she said left her with mouth ulcers and further hair loss.

In a video shared to the social media platform on Tuesday afternoon, Dowden told fans she had been quiet since undergoing her third chemotherapy session last Thursday as she wanted to "fully recover".

"I had a little bit of sickness… and tiredness, but you can’t sleep because of the steroids," she explained. "I’ve got my steroid moon face, which I’m used to anyway by now, but I’m definitely feeling more like Amy today."

(L to R) Michelle Tsiakkas, Graziano Di Prima, Jowita Przysta, Neil Jones, Hamza Yassin, Nadiya Bychkova, Kai Widdrington, Katya Jones, Amy Dowden and Dianne Buswell, accepting the Talent Show award on behalf of
Strictly Come Dancing professionals and 2022's winner Hamza Yassin pose following their NTA 2023 win. (Getty Images)

Amy Dowden's breast cancer diagnosis

Dowden was first diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May and has spoken publicly about her treatment ever since.

Speaking to Hello! magazine at the time, Dowden said she found a lump in her breast in April, a day before she went to the Maldives on her honeymoon with fellow professional dancer Ben Jones.

"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," she told the magazine.

"They told me it was looking very suspicious and to prepare for the worst, hope for the best. They did the biopsy and then we had a wait."

Read more: Breast cancer signs, symptoms and treatments (Yahoo Life UK, 4-min read)

She underwent a mastectomy, but revealed in August that she would have chemotherapy after doctors found more tumours in her body.

The TV star, who also lives with Crohn’s disease, said the discovery was a "massive blow" for her, as she hoped to return to Strictly for this year’s series after her mastectomy.

"I was really scared and I didn't want to do chemo but then 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," she said in an Instagram Live chat.

Last month, after her first round of chemotherapy, Dowden revealed she suffered a "setback" in her cancer treatment after she was diagnosed with "life-threatening" sepsis.

She recovered after spending several days in hospital and being cared for by an ICU team.

Dowden has also spoken candidly about experiencing hair loss due to her chemotherapy treatment.

In an Instagram post in August, she wrote: "What I’ve found harder this time round and the last few days is the hair shedding. Even though I’m cold capping you hope to keep 50 per cent of your hair and there are also many benefits to the hair growing back quicker too.

"But as much as I prepared myself, waking up everyday gently combing my hair with a wide comb and seeing what comes out, it is just heart-breaking personally for me.

"I’m only washing my hair once, max twice a week, not using any heat on my hair or styling it so I just doesn’t feel like me."

Breast cancer – the facts

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with around 55,900 new breast cancer cases emerging every year, according to Cancer Research UK.

The disease affects both men and women, but is much more prevalent among women. It is the fourth most common cause of cancer death in the UK, but the second most common cause of cancer death among women diagnosed with it.

However, breast cancer survival has doubled in the last 50 years in the UK, with around 76% of women diagnosed with breast cancer in England surviving their disease for 10 years or more, studies show.