In May, the professional dancer, who has competed on the BBC Saturday night competition series since 2017, shared that she was facing “another hurdle” in her life after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.
Dowden, who also suffers from Crohn’s disease, said at the time that she was staying “positive and strong”, adding: “I’ve got a really good chance of getting back out on the dance floor as soon as possible.”
Last week, the 32-year-old underwent a single mastectomy, and is waiting to find out if she’ll need to have just radiotherapy or additional chemotherapy as part of her treatment.
Speaking to The Mirror, Dowden said that Strictly was “leaving the door open” regarding her return to the show. One month before her diagnosis, Dowden had been named as one of the Strictly dancers returning to the series for 2023.
“If I only have radiotherapy, I’ll be back on Strictly this season,” the Welsh dancer explained.
“Once radiotherapy is done there’ll be nothing to stop me, there’s no pressure but Strictly is leaving the door open. It’s having something to work towards.”
Dowden continued: “I’m visualising myself on that Strictly dance floor. Just being back in the ballroom with the live audience, the adrenaline and the atmosphere. And the support from the whole Strictly family.
“We can choreograph around me doing things with lifting, putting pressure on my arm. You can adapt.”
However, Dowden said that she would be involved in Strictly either way, saying: “If I have to have chemotherapy, I’ll be present in some way, even if I’m in a wig. I know amazing hair people with Strictly. Whether it’s on [BBC Two sister show] It Takes Two, or being up in Claudia’s area waiting for the scores, I’ll be there.”
Dowden joined Strictly in 2017, and has competed on every series since, reaching the final in 2019 with kids’ TV presenter Karim Zeroual.
The dancer, whose mother had breast cancer, learned that she also had it after finding a lump in her breast one day before her honeymoon in the Maldives in April. Dowden married Ben Jones, her professional dance partner, in July 2022.
She saw a doctor when she returned, and underwent a single mastectomy in May, with the surgeons removing two tumours, three cancer “specks”, and some lymph nodes from her right breast.
Dowden has long been a campaigner for awareness around Crohn’s disease, and has previously said that she hopes to “do the same” with breast cancer.
“If I can try to turn this negative into a positive, it’s going to help me get through this,” she said.
Strictly Come Dancing will return for its 21st series in September.