Shannen Doherty’s breast cancer has spread, she says

Actress Shannen Doherty, shown in 2012, has been fighting breast cancer since early 2015.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

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.

“From one of my surgeries we discovered that some of the cancer cells might have actually gone out of the lymph nodes,” she said Monday in an interview with “Entertainment Tonight.” “So for that reason, we are doing chemo, and then after chemo, I’ll do radiation.”

The 45-year-old “Beverly Hills, 90210” star, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015, is already done with three of eight rounds of chemotherapy. She told “ET” she’d had a single mastectomy in May. Reconstructive surgery will come later.

“Living without a breast is manageable,” she said, “it’s the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love.”


After her mastectomy, she lightheartedly recalled, she experienced an emotional bra-fitting experience. But her mother, Rosa Elizabeth Doherty, was with her for support.

“It was traumatic and horrible, and I didn’t think anything of it at the time, then my mom went with me and I broke down crying in the dressing room and ran out,” the actress said. “And then sat in the car crying.”

Last month, the younger Doherty — with the help of her mom and friend and model Anne Kortright-Shilstat — sheared her dark locks. The actress shared both touching and goofy photos of each step of the head-shaving ceremony on Instagram.

Another key supporter during the actress’ cancer experience has been her husband of five years, photographer Kurt Iswarienko. While Iswarienko couldn’t be there for the head-shaving ceremony, he sent her encouraging texts during the process, including one that said, “Oh my God. You’re hot with no hair.”

On Tuesday, “ET” shared additional footage from the interview. In the video, Doherty opened up about her marriage and Iswarienko’s unflagging support.

“My marriage was always strong, but it’s made my marriage a thousand times stronger,” the actress said. “He’s never missed a chemo. He’s never missed a sick day.”

Early last year, Doherty first called her husband to share the devastating news of her diagnosis, and when she returned home that day, Iswarienko was waiting for her in their driveway.

“[He] hugged me and said, ‘We are going to get through this. You are going to be OK. We are going to get through this, you’re strong and you’re powerful and you’re not going anywhere.… You have so much to do in your life. We are going to get through it as a family.’”

While Doherty confessed she hasn’t always had an optimistic attitude about her cancer, she has realized that this experience is a humbling one.

“You realize how many people in the world are going through the same struggle as you and that you have such a larger family than you thought,” she told “ET.” “Because the cancer family is a really large family, and they’re wonderful and embracing and so willing to share their own story with you — and also inspire you and be inspired by you. The amount of love has changed me, it’s just made me appreciate people. I always did, but it’s like a new kind of appreciation.”


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