UPDATE  10/12/21: “For breast cancer awareness month, I’d like to share more of my own personal journey from my first diagnosis to my second,” wrote Shannon Doherty on Instagram. One picture shows her bald, in bed, with a bloody cotton ball in her nose; another, wearing Cookie Monster pajamas. "Is it all pretty? NO but it’s truthful and my hope in sharing is that we all become more educated, more familiar with what cancer looks like. I hope I encourage people to get mammograms, to get regular checkups, to cut thru the fear and face whatever might be in front of you.

“In 2015 I got diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a mastectomy and did chemo and radiation. 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. #breastcancerawareness” 

The photos aren’t touched up, notes Kearston Wesner, an associate professor of media studies at Quinnipiac University, in The New York Times. “They’re not presented in any way than the reality she’s going through. There is some feeling that when she is communicating with you, she is coming from an authentic place.” 

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This article was originally published on October 16, 2020:  

Despite battling Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, Shannen Doherty doesn’t intend to go anywhere. The actress is optimistic that she’ll be around another decade, according to a recent interview with Elle magazine.

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

For more on this topic:

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Awareness, advocacy and fundraising are crucial in our fight against breast cancer. I am sharing my personal journey with @elleusa in hopes of bringing more attention to this disease and to continue connecting with my cancer family. This isn’t about being a warrior or a survivor. It is about continuing to live and thrive with cancer. I continue to be inspired by the stories so many of you share with me. You have my admiration, love and support. Yes we are strong. We are also just human, with much to still do and accomplish..... and we can. To read full story visit link in my bio. For more information on breast cancer, you can visit @su2c and @americancancersociety. Thank you @ninagarcia and Elle magazine and always thank you @kurtiswarienko for your artistry. #breastcancerawareness

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Earlier this year, Doherty revealed that her cancer came back—she was diagnosed in 2015—after having been in remission for three years. She had previously undergone several treatments, including hormone therapy, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

At the time, Doherty hadn’t fully processed the news but continued to work, even appearing in the Beverly Hills, 90210 reboot, BH90210, to show people that “life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis.”

Doherty shared that her oncologist told her that her next round of treatment would include a hormone therapy to halt the estrogen that was contributing to her cancer as well as a targeted drug that would help stabilize her metastatic condition. If those methods don’t work, he told her there would be other drug combinations to try.

He also told her that she would be in treatment for the rest of her life.

Doherty can’t imagine a future without her in it, especially because she has many things left to do. “There are things I need to say to my mom,” she said. “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.”

She doesn’t want to feel like she’s signing off. That’s why she has also been keeping busy with a number of projects, including a new television show (details aren’t available yet). She’s also been finding ways to use her celebrity to advocate for those with metastatic breast cancer. In July, Doherty joined the American Cancer Society for its Share the Light virtual event to celebrate those touched by cancer.

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Tonight... #sharethelight. @americancancersociety

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

For related coverage, read “How Metastatic Breast Cancer Turned Bath Caldwell Into an Activist” and “No Stopping,” the story of Terlisa Sheppard, an 18 year survivor of metastatic breast cancer.