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Not even a prolonged battle with cancer can keep Shannen Doherty away from the set.
The 50-year-old actor, who made a name for herself with roles in “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Charmed” and “Heathers,” told Variety in an interview published Thursday that continuing to work in the entertainment industry helps send a message about the viability of people with cancer in the workplace.
“The best example that I can continue to set for other people with cancer, and to the outside world who doesn’t have cancer, is to show them what a cancer patient looks like,” Doherty told the outlet. “We are employable. So, for me, I’m just trying to live the best I can, to be the best example at this moment.”
Doherty has completed work on three films, all set to be released within the next two years. Doherty stars in back-to-back fall flicks for the Lifetime network: “Dying to Belong,” a remake of the 1997 film that starred Hilary Swank and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and the cancer drama “List of a Lifetime.” The action thriller “Fortress” finds Doherty co-starring with Bruce Willis and Chad Michael Murray.
“I don’t think there was ever even a thought that I wouldn’t work,” Doherty told Variety.
Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015. Last February, she revealed in an appearance on "Good Morning America" that she had been privately living with the disease again, after her cancer had metastasized. At the time, Doherty wrote in an Instagram post that she had faith in her ability to navigate the overwhelming period in her life.
“To say I have stress is an understatement,” Doherty captioned the post. “To say that I’m struggling is mild, but ... I believe that I will find my footing. I’ll dig deep for the inner strength I need to face it all.
“I pray I do it all with dignity and grace. I have so much to say, so much to share. I will – for now ... please know how much you all help lift me."
Doherty said she’s been able to find this inner strength by relying on her solitude and keeping the intimate details of her cancer journey to herself.
“I’m in a hermit phase?” Doherty, using upspeak, told Variety. “I’m sort of taking all that energy and giving it to myself at the moment.”
Ultimately, Doherty said having cancer shouldn’t place limitations on a person's life or career.
“Stage 4 cancer … doesn’t mean the end of your life,” Doherty told Variety. “It doesn’t mean that you’re not viable in the workplace. It’s quite the opposite.”
“Dying to Belong” premieres on Lifetime Oct. 9, while “List of a Lifetime” premieres Oct. 10.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Shannen Doherty: actor says cancer patients can have careers