‘I'm not ready for pasture’: Shannen Doherty on her Stage 4 cancer battle

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Shannen Doherty (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)
Shannen Doherty (Photo: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

Shannen Doherty opened about her ongoing battle with stage 4 breast cancer, saying she’s trying to “treasure all the small moments” in her life.

Earlier this year the Beverly Hills 90210 star, who was initially diagnosed with the disease in 2015, revealed her breast cancer had returned and had spread.

In a recent interview with Elle magazine, she explained how she discussed her situation with her closest friends – including Buffy the Vampire Slayer actress Sarah Michelle Gellar – at a dinner at her home with her oncologist, Dr Lawrence Piro.

“Everybody got to ask questions and know what we’re looking at as a group – as a team,” Shannen (49) says.

She says warning bells started to ring last year when she began to experience sharp back pain.

“It was no longer, ‘I worked out, and I’m a little sore.’ It was like, ‘God, this hurts!’” she says.

After undergoing a positron emission tomography (PET) scan, her doctor confirmed the cancer had come back and had travelled to her spine.

Dr Piro explained she’d have to undergo “hormone therapy to block the oestrogen fuelling her cancer, plus a second targeted drug that’s often effective at stabilising metastatic disease”.

Because her cancer is considered terminal and is now likely to spread to her liver, lungs and brain, she’ll probably continue to receive treatment for the rest of her life.

In 2017 Shannen announced her cancer was in remission but, she told People magazine, “I don’t think you’re ever on the other side”.

“I look at it like I’m lucky to be alive every minute, every second of the day.”

In February this year, she opened up about the return of the disease on Good Morning America.

“I don’t think that I’ve processed it,” she admitted. “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’.”

She admits she didn't even tell the majority of her co-stars while filming the recent reboot of Beverley Hills 90210, only confiding in co-stars Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering.

Shannen is continuing to work on several other projects, including a new TV show and ways to advocate on behalf of other cancer patients.

Most of all, she says, she’s grateful for every moment.

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Might need dance classes....

A post shared by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on

As a cancer patient, Shannen is at a high risk of contracting Covid-19 so she’s been isolating with her photographer husband Kurt Iswarienko (46) at their California home and rebuilding their huge vegetable garden which was destroyed when wildfires rampaged through the area.

“I try to treasure all the small moments that most people don’t really see or take for granted," she said. "The small things are magnified for me. We have this endless well within us, and it’s just about continuing to dig in that well for the strength to face adversity – and so that we can also see all the beauty.”

Still, she admits it’s hard not to wonder about her future.

“I haven’t sat down to write letters. That’s something I need to do,” she says. “There are things I need to say to my mom. I want my husband to know what he’s meant to me.

“But whenever it comes time for me to do it, it feels so final. It feels like you’re signing off, and I’m not signing off.

“I feel like I’m a very, very healthy human being. It’s hard to wrap up your affairs when you feel like you’re going to live another 10 or 15 years."

She’s also continuing to fight.

“It’s like anybody with stage 4 faces this sort of thing, where others want to put you out to pasture,” she shared. “I’m not ready for pasture. I’ve got a lot of life in me.”

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A post shared by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on

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