After an on-and-off struggle with breast cancer, former Beverly Hills, 90210 actress Shannen Doherty revealed her struggle isn’t nearly over yet. In an interview on Tuesday morning, Doherty shocked fans with news that she has stage 4 cancer again. Appearing on ABC News, Doherty said, “It’s going to come out in a matter of days or a week that I have stage 4. So my cancer came back and that’s why I’m here.”
Doherty said that wanted to be the one to break the news to fans that she’s still been battling cancer for the last year or so and is only speaking about it now. The reason for sharing her diagnosis now, according to the actress, is that she’s involved in a legal battle where her health status would come out and she wanted to share the news first. The legal battle she refers to is a lawsuit between Doherty and State Farm after her home was damaged in the 2018 Malibu fires. According to Doherty’s interview, information about her health is going to become public ahead of her court battle, and she wanted to be the one to share her story.
For Doherty, who was in remission for breast cancer since 2017 after being diagnosed in 2015, this time around has been more difficult. In fact, she admitted that it’s been hard for her to even process and believe that it’s returned.
Since she last dealt with cancer, she’s been handling it while mourning her former co-star Luke Perry, who died of a stroke in 2019, and filming new episodes for the new reboot Beverly Hills 90210. Doherty described that while cancer is life-altering, she’s still living her life. She’s worked 16 hours a day on set, and wants people to ultimately know that “people with stage 4 can work” and “our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do.”
Back in November of 2016, Doherty was quite candid about her cancer and gave the world an inside look into her struggles via Instagram and her experience receiving extensive radiation treatments.
Doherty’s relapse is unfortunately quite common for her particular diagnosis. It’s common for patients with stage 4 cancer to go into remission and for the cancer to come back again later. According to Fred Hutch, a premiere cancer research organization, this is also known as metastatic breast cancer, meaning the cancer has metastasized or traveled, making tumors in other parts of the body, like the brain liver and lungs.
It often involves lifelong treatment, and although not everyone with early stage breast cancer will develop to stage 4, somewhere between 20 to 30 percent of women will go on to develop metastatic disease. Approximately 155,000 people in America currently live with metastatic breast cancer. Treatment can involve chemotherapy and radiation, but there is nothing that will cure this late-stage disease.
“I don’t think that I’ve processed it. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways. I definitely have days where I say, ‘Why me?’ And then I go, ‘Well why not me? Who else? Who else beside me deserves this?’ None of us do. I would say that my first reaction is always concern about how am I going to tell my mom, my husband,” Doherty said.
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