Strictly star Amy Dowden shaves her head as she marks halfway point in cancer treatment

Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden has shaved her head, as she marks the halfway point in her breast cancer treatment.

The 33-year-old was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in May and underwent a mastectomy.

In July, the dancer from Caerphilly, South Wales, told fans she had received a second diagnosis of "another type of cancer".

She also revealed in August she had contracted sepsis after her first round of chemotherapy.

Posting her latest update on Instagram, Dowden said shaving her head has been "the hardest step so far" since her diagnosis, but added she wanted to "take control of this journey".

"I tried my best to save it," she wrote.

"I know it's only hair but these past few months I've had what feels like so much taken away from me that has made me not feel like Amy.

"I'm missing every possible aspect of dancing. I just wanted to keep my identity with my hair and I tried telling myself it wouldn't go. But I would dread the pain of waking up to the shredding every day."

Alongside a video of her friends and family helping shave her head, the dancer added: "I've not been able to take control of this journey so far, but as you can see with some of my loved ones I took the courage and CONTROL.

"It's going to take some time to get use to and learn to love and embrace but, I'm now focussing-not on the hair I'm losing but the hair I'm going to get back and the happy dancing, tea lover who talks way to [sic] fast whilst rolling every rrrrr who is still there inside with or without hair!

"Since taking control, I feel I can now see the finish line. This for me was a hurdle I couldn't even bring myself to think or speak about. I've done it, and I've also crossed the half way chemo line! I'm feeling empowered and positive!"

"I found my courage," she concluded.

In the clip, Dowden is visibly emotional as her loved ones snip pieces of her hair away, wiping away tears.

A hairdresser then shaves her head as those around the professional dancer comfort her before she smiles into the mirror.

Dowden's colleagues paid tribute to her on the Strictly Come Dancing launch show at the weekend, performing a dance for their "Welsh dragon".

Host Tess Daly said: "We are of course missing one of our professional dancers, our gorgeous Amy Dowden is unwell, and she can't be with us for the start of the series.

"She's our Welsh dragon, and we know she'll be back soon."

While co-presenter Claudia Winkleman said: "Amy, from your entire Strictly family we are sending all our love, and we can't wait to have you back on the dance floor."