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Shannen Doherty Reveals Stage Four Breast Cancer Diagnosis

US actress Shannen Doherty attends the FOX Summer TCA 2019 All-Star Party at Fox Studios on August 7, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Michael Tran / AFP) (Photo credit should read MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

(Michael Tran/AFP via Getty Image)

It is sad but appropriate that today on World Cancer Day, we’re reporting on actress Shannen Doherty’s revelation that her breast cancer, first diagnosed in 2015, has returned and is now on stage four.

Doherty shared the news in a tearful and emotional interview with Good Morning America today, revealing that she had been living with the diagnosis for a year, but has kept it private.

Due to legal battles with State Farm Insurance, Doherty anticipated that her diagnosis would become public and elected to make the statement herself.

Initially, she kept the diagnosis to herself and continued to work as a way of honoring Luke Perry, who passed in early 2019 but also to prove she could.  “One of the reasons, along with Luke—that I did ‘90210’ and didn’t really tell anybody because I thought, people can look at that other people with stage four can work too. Like, you know, our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do,” she said.

A cancer diagnosis is never easy to hear, but a recurrence after remission is particularly tough. “I don’t think I’ve processed it. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways,” Doherty told Amy Roach of ABC News. “I definitely have days where I say why me. And then I go, well, why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this? None of us do … But I would say that my first reaction is always concern about how—how am I going to tell my mom, my husband.”

Cancer is a disease that’s very likely touched you and it’s certainly touched us here: Our wonderful contributor Brittany Knupper has written about her own cancer treatment for the site, and I myself was diagnosed with and treated for thyroid cancer in 2018 and cleared in 2019. Even as a former cancer patient, I cannot imagine what Shannen is going through at this stage, but my heart goes out to her and her family, as well as her fans dealing with this news.

This news, along with another high-profile cancer diagnosis (that of Rush Limbaugh), in the news yesterday shows that this illness does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, rich or poor, young or old. Cancer is the word you never want to hear your doctor say, but millions do every year and we offer our support and empathy to anyone that is fighting it as a patient, and to the friends and loved ones of those patients.

It’s only with attention and devotion that we can tackle this disease and help patients and families. If you are so moved, you can always donate to the American Cancer Society or look into non-monetary means of support, like creating blankets for chemo patients, or just finding ways to be there for the people in your life. Get checked if you are in a high-risk group or remind your loved ones to schedule their checks too.

We wish Shannen all the love and strength she could ask for through this ordeal and we applaud her coming forward.

(via: Entertainment Weekly)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.