Actor Shannen Doherty shared new details from her years-long cancer battle on Tuesday, revealing the disease has spread to her brain in an emotional Instagram video. In the post, the 52-year-old shared a clip from her first radiation treatment on January 12, saying a CT scan identified the cancer a week prior. The former Charmed and Beverly Hills, 90210 star lies on her back with tears in her eyes as doctors prepare her for the procedure.
“My fear is obvious,” Doherty wrote in the accompanying caption. “I am extremely claustrophobic and there was a lot going on in my life. I am fortunate as I have great doctors like Dr Amin Mirahdi and the amazing techs at Cedar Sinai. But that fear… The turmoil… the timing of it all… This is what cancer can look like.”
According to CNN, Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and went into remission two years later. But in February 2020, she announced her cancer had returned at stage 4, meaning it spread to other parts of her body.
Doherty: “I Have a Responsibility”
The actor has talked candidly about her cancer experience before, revealing she underwent a mastectomy and received both chemotherapy and radiation following her initial diagnosis in 2015. She has frequently shared photos from her treatment on social media, including the “impossibly tough day” she decided to shave her head in 2016. On Monday, Doherty shared another video of her fitting for the protective mask required during radiation treatments.
During a 2021 panel discussion for her Lifetime network movie List of a Lifetime, which is about a woman diagnosed with breast cancer, Doherty explained, “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 active.”
Doherty has lived that philosophy by continuing to act amid her illness. She has appeared in three other films since the announcement of her cancer recurrence, including the 2021 action thriller Fortress starring Bruce Willis.
According to NBC News, Doherty has used her star power to encourage fans to schedule mammograms and regular checkups. She told Entertainment Tonight in December 2021 that her “ultimate, ultimate dream” is for cancer research to progress enough so that a cure might one day be available for others with the disease.
Doherty’s Friends Offer Their Support
A number of Doherty’s acting friends and colleagues left words of hope and encouragement following her latest update, including Selma Blair. “This is a lot to take on, still again,” Blair commented on the post. “And I am wishing for all the wise peace you have learned to find you in the terror moments. To know we are holding you. Love. All love.”
Similarly, comedian and film director Kevin Smith left a heartfelt message to his “Mallrat,” referencing the 1995 cult comedy film starring Doherty. “You have been such a fearless fighter your whole life, so it’s understandable to be a little scared from time to time. But when those moments pass, let that indomitable Doherty spirit take over anew,” Smith wrote.
According to E! News, actor Sarah Michelle Gellar, singer Harry Connick Jr., and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Kyle Richards all reached out to offer thoughts, prayers, or encouragement.
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