Shannen Doherty Shares 'Truthful' Photos From Her Personal Journey With Breast Cancer on Instagram
Shannen Doherty revealed in February 2020 that she has stage 4 breast cancer. And now, she's sharing photos with her Instagram followers that she says are "truthful" of what she's gone through in her cancer journey.
"For breast cancer awareness month, I'd like to share more of my own personal journey from my first diagnosis to my second," she captioned two intimate photos of herself during her cancer treatment—one of herself with a nosebleed, the other of herself lying in bed wearing Cookie Monster pajamas and a matching eye mask. "Is it all pretty? NO but it's truthful and my hope in sharing is that we all become more educated, more familiar with what cancer looks like."
Doherty was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and publicly documented her journey on her Instagram account, sharing updates from chemotherapy and radiation appointments with fans.
"In 2015 I got diagnosed with breast cancer," she wrote in her latest post. "I had a mastectomy and did chemo and radiation. I had many nosebleeds from the chemo. Not sure if any of you experienced this. I also was beyond tired. I cheered myself up by putting on funny pajamas that my friend Kristy gave me. Did they actually cheer me up? Yes!! Lol. 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."
In 2017, she shared an emotional post with fans, revealing that she was in remission. "Moments. They happen. Today was and is a moment. What does remission mean? I heard that word and have no idea how to react. Good news? YES. Overwhelming. YES. Now more waiting. As every single one of my fellow cancer family knows, the next five years is crucial," she wrote. "Reoccurrences happen all the time."
But in 2020, Doherty shared on Good Morning America that she'd been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. "It's going to come out in a matter of days or a week that I'm stage 4. So my cancer came back, and that's why I'm here," she said. "I don't think I've processed it. It's a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways."
Now, Doherty said, she wants to prompt other people to be on top of their health. "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 said.
Stage 4 cancer is also known as metastatic cancer. It means that the cancer has grown beyond the body part or organ where it was originally found and has spread to distant areas of the body. Doherty has not shared whether she's undergoing treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, five-year survival rates for people who have breast cancer that has spread to distant areas is 27%.
Doherty opened up last month about living with stage 4 cancer during a panel for her new Lifetime move, List of a Lifetime. "I feel like I have a responsibility in my more public life—which I separate from my acting life—to talk about cancer and perhaps educate people more and let people know that people with stage 4 are very much alive and very active," she said, per People.
Doherty said that she "never really" complains, adding, "I don't talk about it. It's part of life at this point."
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, she said that she wants people to understand it's possible to continue to live a full life with stage 4 cancer. "I want people to not hear 'stage 4 cancer' and think of the person that is gray and falling over and they can't move and they're going into hospice and they can't work," she said. "You get written off so quickly, even though you're vital and healthy and happy and wanting to go out there and work."
Doherty also said that, while she appreciates the well-wishes, she wants people to know she's OK. "There comes a point when you're like, 'I got this. I'm fine. I'm good,' " she said. "There are a lot of people in the world who could use prayers, and I'm feeling great."
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