Actress Shannen Doherty discloses Stage 4 breast cancer relapse

Shannen Doherty has fought a long battle with breast cancer.
(Stefano Paltera / Los Angeles Times)

Three years after she entered remission, “Charmed” and “Beverly Hills 90210” alum Shannen Doherty has revealed that she’s been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.

The actress shared news of her relapse in an emotional interview with ABC News that aired Tuesday on “Good Morning America,” in which she opened up about her ongoing fight against the disease.

“My cancer came back, and that’s why I’m here,” she said, holding back tears. “I don’t think I’ve processed it. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.”


Reports of Doherty’s initial cancer diagnosis first surfaced in 2015, when she disclosed the status of her health in a lawsuit against her former manager, Steven D. Blatt, and management firm, Tanner, Mainstain, Glynn & Johnson, for breach of contract and negligence, among other claims.

Doherty said in the 2015 suit that, because of their financial mismanagement, she couldn’t re-enroll in insurance benefits until 2015 and was unable to see a doctor while she was sick.

Later that year, the illness had advanced to “invasive breast cancer metastatic to at least one lymph node” and had spread while she was uninsured in 2014, the suit said.

“I definitely have days where I say, ‘Why me?’” she told ABC. “And then I go, ‘Well, why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this?’ None of us do.”

Since filing the 2015 suit, Doherty, 48, has been open about her treatment process, which has involved several rounds of chemotherapy and a mastectomy. In 2016, she documented herself shaving her head in a series of photos shared to Instagram.

Shannen Doherty, who publicly chronicled the shaving of her head two weeks ago as part of her fight against cancer, has revealed more details about her situation, including the bad news that the cancer has spread.

Aug. 2, 2016

In the ABC interview, however, she said she’d made an effort to hide her recent relapse from the public, partly because of the sudden death of Luke Perry, her former costar, in 2019.


Doherty also discussed her participation in last year’s “90210” reboot, which she joined both to honor her late friend and to prove that “people with Stage 4 can work, too.”

While filming the reboot, Doherty said she confided in castmate Brian Austin Green — the only person on set who knew about her relapse — when remembering Perry or feeling anxiety about her own health issues.

“It’s so weird for me to be diagnosed and then somebody who was, you know, seemingly healthy to go first. ... It was really, like, shocking,” she said of Perry’s death, later adding, “Our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do.”

In a 2017 Instagram post, Doherty announced the “good” and “overwhelming” news that she was officially in remission. Throughout her cancer battle, she has also been an active supporter of Stand Up to Cancer, an organization that raises funds for medical research.

“I think the thing I want to do the most right now is I want to make an impact,” she said. “I want to be remembered for something bigger than just me.”