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Exclusive: Ola Jordan opens up about her breast cancer scare: 'I was so nervous'

The former Strictly star is urging other women to check their breasts regularly  

Ola Jordan at the Paul Strank Charitable Trust & Raynes Park Vale Football Spring Charity Gala Dinner© Shutterstock
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
June 20, 2024
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HELLO! columnist and professional dancer Ola Jordan has opened up about a recent health scare, which many women will relate to.

The former Strictly Come Dancing star, who is married to fellow dancer James Jordan and is mum to their four-year-old daughter Ella, found a growth in her breast earlier this year and went through a worrying time before getting the all-clear.

Strictly's Ella Jordan holding daughter Ella on her lap© Ola Jordan
Ola with her daughter Ella

Ola, 41, recently got back into fitness with her and James' workout programme Dance Shred after welcoming Ella in 2020. Life was going well for the Polish-born dance champion, but when Ola discovered a change in her breast in March this year, the worry set in.

Below, the celebrity mum recounts her experience…

Finding the lump

About three months ago I felt something in my breast, about the size of a walnut. I wouldn't call it a lump but there was something in there like a growth on the right side of my right breast. I've always checked my boobs regularly for changes.

I could quite clearly feel the growth. It felt different. But the more I touched it, the more I wondered if I was imagining it. Was I going mad? Could I feel anything? I got James to feel it, then I got my sister to feel it, and everyone went, 'Yeah, there is something there'.

Then I started checking my left breast. You end up touching them all the time. I was thinking, maybe because I'm touching it all the time there's something there. I was consumed by it. I was so stressed, and I wasn't sleeping well.

Ola Jordan in a mini dress with James Jordan in front of a staircase
Ola and her husband James

Calling the doctor

A few days later I called my doctor. She rang me back and said, 'Leave it for two weeks and then see if there are any changes because breasts can change in your cycle.' I did have some pain with it, which made me wonder if it was a hormonal thing.

I left it two weeks and there was no change. There was still something there.

I rang back and spoke to the receptionist, who said I didn't need to speak to my GP, she would send me off straight away to the breast clinic. I thought that was amazing – why did I need to see my GP again? He was only going to send me to the clinic anyway.

Whatever people say about the NHS, the speed of that was amazing. I was seen straight away within the two weeks, which is the timeframe they need to see you in.

Ola and James Jordan on holiday with daughter Ella
Ola and James Jordan on holiday with daughter Ella

Going to the clinic

I went to the hospital for my check-up and was back out again in 45 minutes. It was so quick.

I saw a doctor there first, who checked me. She got me to lie down and put my arms up in different positions. She could clearly feel there was something there. She said, 'Right, I'm going to send you to have a mammogram'. 

I had the mammogram then went and sat down. Then they told me I needed to have an ultrasound, and that's when I got a bit scared. I didn't think I was having an ultrasound as well.

In the ultrasound room, there was a doctor just looking at my mammogram. She didn't say much to me.

The nurse told me to get undressed and lie down. I didn't know if the ultrasound was a normal procedure and I started panicking. I was convinced they'd found something. I was so nervous.

I remember the nurse tried to talk to me, asking: 'Is it still raining outside?' I said quite sharply, 'No it's not'. I didn't want to talk about it. I could tell the nurse was trying to distract me.

James and Ola Jordan
The Jordan family

The results

Thank goodness the doctor said, 'Everything is OK'.

As she did the ultrasound, she told me she was being cautious and making sure there was nothing there. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

When she finished, she said: 'Everything is fine, there's nothing to worry about. Breasts do change and you will sometimes feel things in your breasts. It's hormonal changes.' She reassured me by saying: 'You're not wasting anyone's time; these things need to be checked.'

They were aware I'd been through IVF with Ella, where I took a lot of hormones and pills that can cause changes. I'm 41 and unfortunately, I'm at that age where things happen. My mum had cysts on her breasts but not cancer or anything like that.

I did feel bad as I felt I was taking somebody else's space at the clinic, but at the same time, I've got a little daughter I've got to live for. When you hear stories, you worry.

The woman who did the scan told me it was good that I had a mammogram done because if there are any changes later on, they can compare the two images together.

It's a huge relief that my breast check came back OK.

I'm still going to keep an eye on it though. I'm trusting the team who saw me. I said to James, 'I hope they haven't made a mistake', because mistakes do happen. I'm sure it's fine but I'm going to keep watching it.

My message to others is if you feel something isn't right with your body, you've got to see a doctor because you never know. You're not wasting their time. It really is so important to check your breasts regularly, and ask for help if you feel something's not right.

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