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Shannen Doherty opens up about living with cancer: ‘I never really complain’

Shannen Doherty is determined to live a full life despite being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer last year. 

The 50-year-old actress told reporters during a press conference for her upcoming Lifetime movie “List of a Lifetime” how she feels a “responsibility” to educate people about the disease. 

“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 4 are very much alive and very active,” Doherty admitted. 

“My husband says that you would never know that I have cancer,” she added. “I never really complain. I don’t really talk about it. It’s part of life at this point.” Doherty married photographer Kurt Iswarienko in 2011.


In the former “Charmed” star’s new film, she plays a woman who is also diagnosed with breast cancer. The character’s health news prompts her to find the daughter she gave up for adoption years ago.

Shannen Doherty was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer last year.

Shannen Doherty was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer last year.
(Tibrina Hobson/WireImage)

Doherty said the parallels between the movie and her own life are obvious and it’s the “first acting thing I’ve done about cancer.”

The “90210” alum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and later announced she was in remission two years later. Sadly, her cancer returned in 2020. 

“I want people to not hear stage 4 cancer and think of the person that is gray and falling over and they can’t move and they’re going into hospice and they can’t work,” she said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight in October. “You get written off so quickly, even though you’re vital and healthy and happy and wanting to go out there and work.”

“Everybody’s terminal,” Doherty added. “I might live a lot longer than somebody who’s perfectly healthy. You have no idea.”

She told Good Morning America in 2020 she hopes to keep working because “I enjoy working, and working gives me just another reason to wake up every morning. It’s another reason to fight to stay alive.”


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