Breast cancer symptoms and how to check yourself as Amy Dowden announces diagnosis

Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has revealed that she's been diagnosed with breast cancer after she discovered a lump ahead of her honeymoon.

The 32 year old Strictly star shared the heartbreaking news on Wednesday and wrote on Instagram: "Hey all, I've got some news to share which isn't easy. I've recently been diagnosed with breast cancer but I'm determined to get back on that dance floor before you know it."

She signed off the post: "Welsh love, Amy x."

Amy spoke to Hello! magazine following the diagnosis and said she felt a hard lump in her right breast the day before jetting off on a belated honeymoon with her husband Ben Jones earlier this year.

After monitoring the lump for a couple of weeks, Amy noticed it seemed to have grown and called her GP.

She was given an emergency referral within a day, where doctors told her "it was looking very suspicious and to prepare for the worst, hope for the best" before a biopsy.

Amy received her diagnosis of grade three breast cancer just last week.

She said: "Three is the most aggressive, but they feel like they've caught mine early and to not be too alarmed because grade 3 would be expected in somebody of my age."

Amy is now waiting to receive a full treatment plan but knows it will definitely include surgery.

She added: "I don't know what stage the cancer is yet, until I have an MRI scan and a biopsy on a second lump they have found in the same breast. Once they’ve got that, they can give me a full prognosis."

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, according to theNHS. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are over the age of 50, but younger women can also get breast cancer.

Grease star Olivia Newton-John, who passed away last year, was in her early 40s when she was first diagnosed in 1992.

Following Olivia's death, former EastEnders actress Samantha Womack, 49, revealed that she had been battling breast cancer.

BBC presenter Sarah Cawood, 50 also announced in September last year. that she had been diagnosed with stage one breast cancer.

The NHS explains that there are many symptoms of breast cancer, but the “first noticeable symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue”.

The other symptoms include: a change in the size or shape of one or both breasts, discharge from either of your nipples which may be streaked with blood, a lump or swelling in either of your armpits, dimpling on the skin of your breasts, a rash on or around your nipple and a change in the appearance of your nipple, such as becoming sunken into your breast.

The exact causes of breast cancer are not fully known by experts, but there are certain factors known to increase the risk of breast cancer.

These include age, family history of breast cancer, previous diagnosis of breast cancer, previous non-cancerous (benign) breast lump, being tall, overweight or obese and drinking alcohol.

Checking your breasts yourself is recommended by experts, though it “isn't always a reliable way to detect breast cancer”.

MayoClinicsuggests beginning the self examination by standing shirtless and braless in front of a mirror with your arms at your sides.

They say while facing forward look for puckering, dimpling, or changes in size, shape or symmetry and check to see if your nipples are turned in (inverted).

Next it's recommended you inspect your breasts with your hands pressed down on your hips.

Inspect your breasts with your arms raised overhead and the palms of your hands pressed together and then lift your breasts to see if ridges along the bottom are symmetrical.

They add: “Use a methodical technique to ensure you examine your entire breast. For instance, imagine the face of a clock over your breast or the slices of a pie.

“Begin near your collarbone and examine that section, moving your fingers toward your nipple. Then move your fingers to the next section.”

The publication adds that the look and feel of your breasts will change as you age.


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