Famous for her role as Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills 90210 (and many others!), Shannen Doherty fights breast cancer. She does so with courage, dignity and plenty of support.
Shannen experienced worrisome symptoms months earlier but didn’t go to see a doctor because she didn’t have health insurance at the time. (Doherty blames her ex-business manager for mismanaging her affairs.) She was first diagnosed in early 2015. Doctors found that because of the delay in seeking medical attention, her breast cancer has already spread to one of her lymph nodes.
Shannen had a single mastectomy in May of this year, she’s currently undergoing chemotherapy and plans on radiation treatments. (Doherty has recently learned that her cancer has begun spreading beyond the affected lymph node.)
As it’s the case for most chemotherapy patients, Shannen too experienced hair loss. Like any female cancer patient, she too had to make the difficult choice: hide the hair loss or make it public. Known for her spectacular locks, Shannen made the brave choice of sharing her hair loss with the public. (Incidentally, she looks as beautiful without hair as with it!)
Dealing with cancer and cancer treatments is a heavy burden for the patient AND her family. It’s just as heavy for a celebrity. In the midst of her struggle, Shannen does acknowledge that she isn’t dealing with the disease alone. While speaking with Dr. Oz, she said: “You worry most about the people that you love and making sure that they are going to be okay. For me, that was the hardest part.”
Doherty has a strong support system. Her mother and husband of 5 years Kurt Iswarienko (a photographer) have been towers of strength for the actress. So have been many of her friends, co-stars and yes, fans!
Shannen Doherty is fighting a serious disease. She’s suffering physically. She’s dealing with emotional turmoil, remembering how as a teenager on Beverly Hills 90210 she thought of herself as invincible…. Tougher yet, her struggle is public. That’s more than enough to break a person, make her want to run and hide. True to her famous Brenda Walsh character, Doherty doesn’t let her personal fight break her spirit.
Instead of running and hiding, like many would have, Doherty is using her experience with cancer to warn and educate women.
By the time Shannen sorted out her medical insurance issues and sought medical help her invasive breast cancer has already spread. Now she carries the message of early cancer detection to others: “You have no idea what that extra time might have afforded you.”
Speaking of her cancer, she said: “Mine for instance spread to a lymph node or two. It might not have spread … The most important thing is catching it as early as humanly possible.”
Cancer detected early is easiest to treat. The treatment is less invasive. A chance of complete recovery is best. Shannen Doherty knows. Listen to her and if you notice any changes in your breast seek help as early as you can. Getting help early can save your life!
Message to Shannen: You are still invincible!
Anything L.A. Magazine’s Entertainment Editor / I. Sturm