Wednesday, October 27

BH90210's Shannen Doherty Is Emotional Recalling Decision to Shave Hair


For Shannen Doherty, it’s important to be “as honest as possible” as she continues her fight against cancer. The actress battled breast cancer between March 2015 and April 2017, and she revealed in February 2020 that the illness had returned.

“It’s going to come out in a matter of days or a week that — I’m stage IV. So my cancer came back. And that’s why I’m here,” she told Good Morning America at the time. “I don’t think I’ve processed it. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.”

Doherty explained that her latest diagnosis came about four months before the untimely death of her Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Luke Perry. “It’s so weird for me to be diagnosed and then somebody who was, you know, seemingly healthy to go first,” she said. “It was really, like, shocking. And the least I could do to honor him was to do [reboot BH90210]. … One of the reasons, along with Luke, that I did 90210 and didn’t really tell anybody [was] because I thought, ‘People can look at that [and see] other people with stage IV can work too.’ Like, you know, our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do.”

The Riverdale guest star also opened up about her emotional lows. “I definitely have days where I say, ‘Why me?’” she admitted. “And then I go, ‘Well, why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this?’ None of us do.”

In September 2021, the Tennessee native explained why she decided to share details of her health struggles with her fans. “I feel like I have a responsibility in my more public life, which I separate from my acting life … to talk about cancer and perhaps educate people more and let people know that people with stage IV are very much alive and very active,” she said during a virtual panel for her movie List of a Lifetime, which follows a woman who makes a bucket list after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis.

When asked if she made a bucket list following her own diagnosis, the Webby Award winner said that she didn’t “I’m very much like, ‘There’s no bucket list because I’m going to be the longest-living person with cancer,’” she told the panel. “If I had to say one, it would just be living. That’s the only thing on my list at this point.”

Keep scrolling to read more of Doherty’s most candid quotes about her cancer battle:

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On Her Initial Diagnosis

“There was a lump, and I had a mammogram and then a biopsy,” Doherty recalled to Health Magazine in February 2019. “When I got the results, I was in the car with my mom and I just knew. The longer I sat, the more it started sinking in. Then I started crying. I called my husband and told him. And from there, I just put together a team — including L.A.-based surgeons Dr. Armando Giuliano and Dr. Jay Orringer and oncologist Dr. Lawrence Piro.”

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

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On Early Detection

“Early detection is going to make your prognosis better,” the Charmed alum told Extra in December 2019. “Maybe I wouldn’t have had the surgeries that I’ve had or the chemo I’ve had.”

Broadimage/Shutterstock

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On ‘Signing Off’

I haven’t sat down to write letters. That’s something I need to do. There are things I need to say to my mom. I want my husband to know what he’s meant to me,” the actress told Elle in September 2020 before she got visibly emotional. “But whenever it comes time for me to do it, it feels so final. It feels like you’re signing off, and I’m not signing off. I feel like I’m a very, very healthy human being. It’s hard to wrap up your affairs when you feel like you’re going to live another 10 or 15 years.”

 

Doherty added that she feels like she has “a lot of life” left to live. “I try to treasure all the small moments that most people don’t really see or take for granted,” she said. “The small things are magnified for me. We have this endless well within us, and it’s just about continuing to dig in that well for the strength to face adversity — and so that we can also see all the beauty.”

 

Fox/CBS/Kobal/Shutterstock

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On Shaving Her Head

“I remember I got in the shower to wash my hair, and it just started coming out in clumps,” Doherty told Health. “I started screaming for my mom. I think that was harder than the surgeries. It was like, ‘Oh my God, this is real.’ Right away, I made the decision to shave my head. My friend came over, and she shaved it. We laughed, and we cried. She shaved it in stages, so it was like a pageboy, then punk rock, shaved on the sides. It was a fun experience, considering that I was devastated.”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On Remission

“You hear the word remission and it’s a rush of different emotions,” the Tennessee alum explained on Good Morning America in September 2018. “It’s like, ‘What’s next?’ There’s a little bit of fear and apprehension. I felt lost for a second. I was like, ‘Now what?’ But then it sort of starts seeping in and then you get joyous and you get so excited but then you got to wait for that five-year mark and that 10-year mark — so remission is a crazy word to me.”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On Recovering

“I went for walks,” Doherty told Extra. “My husband really forced me out of bed. Sometimes he carried me out the front door. … It started with walking and then it moved to dancing, then it moved to boxing. … Building up my strength was, yes, movement, but also faith.”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On Opening Up Online

“It was just about being as honest as possible,” the former child actress explained to Health. “And then it became very important to me that I was there for people who were going through it. I would never give medical advice because I’m not a doctor, but I would always say, ‘Advocate for yourself.’ And also, I get a little less trolls and haters on social media now, so that’s good. I think because cancer stripped me of my defense mechanisms, it allowed people to see all sides of me.”

Rob Latour/Shutterstock

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On Social Media Solidarity

“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,” Doherty told Entertainment Tonight in August 2016. “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.”

To GMA, she added: “I know sharing helped me because, when I got back, these beautiful stories from other people, what they were going through … giving me hope and support and love, it really helped. It’s truly a family. There’s something so beautiful about the journey.”

MediaPunch/Shutterstock

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On Husband Kurt Iswarienko

“My marriage was always strong, but [the cancer battle] has made my marriage a thousand times stronger,” the Heathers star told ET. “He’s never missed a chemo. He’s never missed a sick day.”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On Her Body

“I love that my body is strong and that it has the ability to fight something like cancer,” Doherty told Health. “I’m trying to show it more appreciation by going to a nutritionist, Dr. Philip Goglia, and doing strength training and boxing at Box ’N Burn almost every day. Importantly, my perception of sexy has changed. For me now, sexy is strength. Sexy is vulnerability. Sexy is compassion. Sexy is grace. Why should I care so much about the physical shell?”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On How Cancer Has Changed Her

“I think it made me a better actor,” the actress revealed on GMA. “I also think it made me a better human being. It takes down all your walls, all your barriers, everything that life sort of threw at you … You’re guarding yourself, so yeah, that all comes tumbling down.”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On Self-Acceptance

On an October 2016 episode of Chelsea, Doherty said, “I think what’s beautiful and hard and interesting about cancer is that it tears you down and builds you, and tears you down and builds you. It remakes you so many different times. The person I thought I was supposed to be or was going to be or who I thought I was six months ago is now somebody completely different. And I realize, ‘Wow, I really thought that I was so brave and so gracious this entire time and really I was just hiding.’”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On the Joys of Her Life

“It’s the little things that are making me laugh,” Doherty revealed to Health. “The expressions on my dog’s face. My husband playing air guitar as we walk down the street. It’s all those little moments, the ones that make me smile and feel very joyful that I’m still here to enjoy them.”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On the Unknown

“The unknown is always the scariest part,” the animal rights activist told ET. “Is the chemo going to work? Is the radiation going to work? You know, am I going to have to go through this again, or am I going to get secondary cancer? Everything else is manageable. Pain is manageable, you know living without a breast is manageable, it’s the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love.”

Courtesy of Shannen Doherty/Instagram

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On Making the Most of Life

“I want people to not hear stage IV cancer and think of the person as gray and falling over,” she told BFF Sarah Michelle Gellar in an October 2020 Entertainment Tonight interview. “You get written off so quickly even though you’re still vital and healthy and happy. People instantly think it’s a death sentence and it’s not.”

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On Thinking Positively

“My husband says that you would never know that I have cancer,” Doherty said in September 2021. “I never really complain. I don’t really talk about it. It’s part of life at this point.”

Mediapunch/Shutterstock

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On Not Giving Up

“You really have to dig deep to face cancer, and in that, you find all this stuff that you had hidden away,” the Mallrats actress told Good Morning America in October 2021. “And it’s beautiful things that you find: You find the vulnerability, you find your trust in people again. You find forgiveness.”

She added that she tries not to think about her life in terms of a “bucket list,” because it implies that she’s already given up. “A bucket list almost feels like those are things to check off before you die, and I never want to operate like that,” she explained. “I just want to operate as, I don’t have things to check off because I’m going to keep fighting to stay alive.”

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