The 33-year-old Welsh dancer, who first joined the cast of Strictly in 2017, announced that she could no longer compete in the BBC show after she was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May 2023.
Before her diagnosis, Dowden went on her first honeymoon trip after marrying her husband Ben Jones in 2022. But Dowden found a lump on her breast the day before flying to the Maldives, which led to her spending much of the time worrying.
“Just before I went on my honeymoon last year with my husband I found a lump on my breast and it just overshadowed the whole honeymoon,” Dowden told The Mirror.
“I didn’t want to tell Ben as I didn’t want to worry him. But everyday when I was putting suntan lotion on or I was moisturising I could feel it and I was just worrying more and more.
“Unfortunately now when I think of that honeymoon, I think of the start of my breast cancer journey. I just knew the entire holiday. I just had this gut feeling. I just knew.”
Speaking to the outlet, Dowden admitted that she thought her honeymoon would be her “last holiday ever” – but she and Ben have now had the chance at a second honeymoon to Grenada, which was organised by Lorraine and will be shown next Tuesday on the ITV programme at 9am.
“It’s the first time I have gone away [since the diagnosis],” she added. “And what with the blood clots and wearing a bikini for the first time and everything. But, these are all steps that I need to take,”.
On Wednesday the star issued an apology to her fans for being less active on social media while sharing an update following her chemotherapy treatment.
"Hey hey, thank you for all the lovely messages the last few weeks," she began.
"Sorry for being a little silent here. I needed a little time and space. I’m still missing and craving what I should be doing but starting to accept I need to be patient. After a crazy week of hospital tests and apts last week Ben and I then went away for a few days and it’s exactly what we both needed."
Dowden continued: "Hope 2024 has been treating you all well. Once again thanks for all the love and of course, I need to remind you, have you checked yourself this year? If not, get checking."
The dancer also revealed the hair she had lost through chemotherapy has started growing back.
"The regrowth felt so slow but looking back it’s unreal and it’s helping me feel more positive,” Dowden said as she reflected on the moment.
Before the new year, Dowden said she felt “robbed” of 2023 following her cancer diagnosis and said she was looking forward to being “fit and healthy” in 2024.
Throughout 2023, the star had a mastectomy, chemotherapy and fertility treatment. Dowden finished her last bout of chemotherapy in November.