- Shannen Doherty posted on Instagram “truthful” photos from her two-time breast cancer journey.
- The actress said she hopes to make people more familiar with what cancer looks like.
- She’s continued working throughout her treatments, saying she finds it more fulfilling.
Shannen Doherty is continuing to speak out about the realities of living with stage 4 breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Doherty, 50, of “Beverly Hills, 90210” fame, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She underwent a mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. She announced that she was in remission in 2017, but last year, she revealed her cancer had recurred.
In an Instagram post Thursday, Doherty said she wanted to share more about her “personal journey” including both diagnoses. “Is it all pretty?” she wrote. “NO but it’s truthful and my hope in sharing is that we all become more educated, more familiar with what cancer looks like.”
“I hope I encourage people to get mammograms, to get regular checkups, to cut thru the fear and face whatever might be in front of you,” she added.
In one picture, Doherty is bald with a bloody nose from the chemo, a side effect she said was frequent. “I also was beyond tired,” she wrote.
In the second picture, Doherty is sleeping in Cookie Monster pajamas, a trick for keeping her spirits up.
“I cheered myself up by putting on funny pajamas that my friend Kristy gave me. Did they actually cheer me up? Yes!! Lol,” she wrote. “I looked ridiculous and in that ridiculousness, I was able to laugh at myself. Finding humor helped get me thru what seemed impossible. I hope we all find humor in the impossible.”
Doherty’s continued to work throughout her treatments
Despite her diagnoses and treatment side effects, Doherty’s career hasn’t slowed down. She hid her recurrence from castmates while filming 2019’s 90210 reboot, and has two Lifetime movies debuting this month.
“I think work was always very fulfilling to me, but in a way it’s become even more fulfilling,” she recently told Juju Chang on ABC News’ “Nightline“.
“A lot of people who get diagnosed with stage 4, they sort of get written off,” she said. “It’s assumed that they cannot work or they can’t work at their full capacity. And that is not true. And that is something that I would really like for people to sort of stop assuming and give us a chance to prove them wrong.”
She recently said she was ‘fighting to stay alive’
Stage 4, the most advanced stage of breast cancer, means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, bones, and, in some cases, organs like the lungs, liver, or brain.
While such cancers are considered incurable, increasingly advanced treatments are helping people live longer and improve their symptoms. The American Cancer Society says the five-year survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer is 28%.
On “Nightline,” Doherty said she was still on her “first protocol,” or treatment plan.”You just want to last on your protocols as long as possible so that you don’t run out of protocols,” she said.
It’s unclear what her protocol involves, but she said it was allowing her to live in the moment rather than checking off bucket-list items, a concept she’s said she doesn’t believe in.
“I like to say that those are goals,” she told Chang, adding, “I just want to operate as I don’t have things to check off, because I’m going to keep fighting to stay alive.”