Shannen Doherty has not had the easiest eight years dealing with breast cancer, to say the least. In a new Instagram post, she shared a health update, writing: “Early morning doctors visit for scans. Blurry eyed. Hair askew but the new bandage wraps made me smile! #cancerslayer” along with a selfie and a snap of her pink, heart-patterned bandages.
In 2015, Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer after she noticed a lump in her breast. She underwent hormone therapy but eventually needed to undergo a single mastectomy as well as chemotherapy and radiation. In 2017, Doherty’s cancer went into remission. Unfortunately in February 2020, it returned as stage IV breast cancer. It had also spread to other parts of her body.
Breast cancer stages range from 0 to IV, with higher numerals indicating a more invasive cancer, or how far the cancerous cells have progressed beyond the original tumor. According to the Mayo Clinic, Stage 0 means that the cancer is noninvasive or it is contained within the milk ducts, while Stage IV (also referred to as metastatic breast cancer), the stage Doherty is facing, is cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 150,000 breast cancer survivors in the U.S. are living with metastatic breast cancer. Research has found that thanks to scientific advances, the survival of people diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer has dramatically improved, despite this form of cancer not typically being curable.
Despite her difficult few years of ongoing cancer treatments, Doherty has continued to work, appearing in two TV movies last year, List of a Lifetime and Dying to Belong. Over the years, the actress has also turned to social media to share many moments of her cancer journey, including her experiences chemotherapy.
For breast cancer awareness month in October last year, she also shared with her followers in a post that detailed her struggles, writing: “I had many nose bleeds 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.”