Shannen Doherty's Update On Her Breast Cancer Diagnosis Provides Support For Other Women Battling Cancer
In July, Beverly Hills, 90210 star Shannen Doherty took to Instagram and shared photos of her newly shaved head amid her breast cancer battle. The pictures were courageous, brave, and every other adjective you can think of to describe an individual opening up about a frightening time in their life. Once again, the 45-year-old actor is showing just how inspiring she is, this time in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. Doherty further discussed her breast cancer and even revealed that the cancer may have spread, which is scary to say the least. The fact that she's presenting her cancer fight as an open book just proves how much of an inspiration Doherty is for women who are going through something similar.
In addition to revealing she underwent surgery for a single mastectomy in May, she also said that there's a possibility that her cancer has spread. "I had breast cancer that spread to the lymph nodes, and from one of my surgeries we discovered that some of the cancer cells might have actually gone out of the lymph nodes," she told ET. "So for that reason, we are doing chemo, and then after chemo, I'll do radiation."
Unless you've been through cancer yourself, there's no way to understand exactly how Doherty is feeling. But the Charmed star did explain how scared she is right now, which sheds a light on what she's experiencing:
"The unknown is always the scariest part. Is the chemo going to work? Is the radiation going to work? You know, am I going to have to go through this again, or am I going to get secondary cancer? Everything else is manageable. Pain is manageable, you know living without a breast is manageable, it's the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love."
To hear and see Doherty's vulnerability throughout her fight is absolutely inspiring. It also has to hit home for women who can relate, which is something the actor recognizes. For example, having a mastectomy was an emotional time, but her doctor was able to leave a "tiny something there," as Doherty put it, and put in an expander allowing her to "fill it up and make it bigger" when she wants to. "I'm being so personal right now, but I think a lot of women can probably go, 'Yeah, I've been through that,'" she said.
Breast cancer can take on a toll on women in more ways than one, including their self-esteem. That's something Doherty admitted to, like when she gets fitted for a new bra or when she's photographed on a bad day. She explained, "People don't realize that cancer — yes, it ages — but also, you can balloon up from the various meds. There are so many different reactions you have and so I just — I didn't want someone to take a picture of me coming out of the grocery store and be like, 'Oh God, look at her.'"
In August 2015, Doherty first opened up about having breast cancer in a lawsuit against her manager Tanner Mainstain. She claimed that he allegedly failed to pay her health insurance premiums on time, which she claimed contributed to her cancer spreading during a time that she was uninsured. Doherty's lawsuit also states that the management company should be responsible for possible further treatment, including chemotherapy and/or a mastectomy.
Mainstain's rep, who spoke with People at the time, said that the "claim that Tanner Mainstain caused [Doherty] to be uninsured, prevented her from seeking medical care, or somehow contributed to her cancer is patently false. Tanner Mainstain will aggressively defend all of Ms. Doherty's claims in court."
Doherty told People in August, "Yes, I have breast cancer, and I am currently undergoing treatment. I am continuing to eat right, exercise and stay very positive about my life. I am thankful to my family, friends and doctors for their support and, of course, my fans who have stood by me."
All that said and done, the Heathers actor is hoping her story will help others who can relate. She told ET,
"I wanted to put it out there the way it felt the best for me to put it out there. And also, if I could help one person then it makes me go, "Oh OK." It's easier to live with having cancer if I know I'm helping at least one person."
Well, there's no doubt she is doing just that.