Amy Dowden Reveals She Was Hospitalised With Sepsis Shortly After Beginning Cancer Treatment

The Strictly Come Dancing professional recently began chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with cancer.
Amy Dowden on Lorraine in 2018
Amy Dowden on Lorraine in 2018
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Strictly Come Dancing professional Amy Dowden has revealed she contracted sepsis shortly after beginning her treatment for chemotherapy.

Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year, and after undergoing a mastectomy, more tumours and another form of the disease were discovered.

Because of this, the Welsh performer began a particular chemotherapy treatment known as the “red devil” at the beginning of this month.

However, Amy has shared that treatment hasn’t been smooth sailing, and she “suffered a setback” early on when she was rushed to hospital with sepsis.

The NHS website describes sepsis as a “life-threatening reaction to an infection”, which occurs when the immune system “overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s own tissues and organs”.

“I recently suffered a setback in my cancer treatment and spent several days in hospital and needing care by an ICU team,” Amy explained on Instagram.

Elaborating to Hello! magazine, she recalled that she began experiencing a high temperature two days after beginning her first course of chemotherapy.

I wasn’t feeling too bad that day, just sick, but a couple of hours later I started having a temperature of 37.7 degrees Celsius,” the ballroom and Latin dancer told the outlet.

“At the time, I didn’t realise that having a temperature of 37.5 or above could be fatal for a chemo patient. I just thought it was my reaction to chemo, but as it turned out, I had already got an infection.”

Amy backstage on last year's Strictly tour
Amy backstage on last year's Strictly tour
Dave J Hogan via Getty Images

Although she initially started to feel better, things apparently “started to go downhill” two days later, and her parents called an ambulance after Amy experienced breathlessness. Following an examination, paramedics then advised her to go immediately to hospital.

I didn’t want to go into hospital; at the time I didn’t realise how ill I was,” she continued.

“I knew it was a Saturday night, so A&E would probably be crowded, and it was dangerous being around people as it’s more likely you’ll pick up an infection. On chemo, you don’t have your white blood cells to fight infection.”

Amy was then driven to hospital, where she was treated for sepsis.

Revealing her memory of her stint in hospital is hazy, Amy told Hello!: “The doctors and nurses were telling me I had sepsis and that it was life-threatening, but I wasn’t taking it in. I didn’t become properly aware until later. I told my dad: ‘I’ve got sepsis’ and he said: ‘I know!’.”

Amy returned from hospital four days after being admitted, and began her second round of chemotherapy weeks later.

“I just got very, very unlucky,” she said. “I’m also more prone to infections because my Crohn’s means I have a lower immune system.”

Last week, Amy spoke of another “hurdle” she’d been faced with during her cancer treatment.

“Got some blood clots but I’m feeling good other than a sore and swollen arm,” she wrote on Instagram.

“Another hurdle along this journey. But again forever grateful to the NHS and my heroes around me.”

While Amy’s treatment means she will not be able to compete on Strictly when it returns to our screens next month, she previously shared that she wanted to be “present” during this year’s live shows “in some way”.

“If I have to have chemotherapy, I’ll be present in some way, even if I’m in a wig,” she told The Mirror back in June. “I know amazing hair people with Strictly.

“Whether it’s on It Takes Two, or being up in Claudia’s area waiting for the scores, I’ll be there.”

Amy also spoke to Hello! about her hopes to return to Strictly in some capacity, enthusing: “I’ve been on the phone to the Strictly team today – they said they’re getting me some fabulous wigs ready.

“The team are being guided by me – they’ve been utterly amazing. We’ve got some dates in the diary, but it will depend on how I feel. We’re taking it a step at a time.”

“I’m grateful they are including me because Strictly will help me get through the next few months, mentally. It’s just the tonic that I need,” she added.

Read Amy Dowden’s full interview in Hello! magazine here.


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