“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,” the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, 50, said during a virtual panel for her new movie, List of a Lifetime, on Tuesday, September 14.
“My husband, [Kurt Iswarienko], says that you would never know that I have cancer,” the former Charmed star continued. “I never really complain. I don’t really talk about it. It’s part of life at this point.”
The Tennessee native was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in February 2020, three years after having gone into remission. “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 was first diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015. She underwent chemotherapy through February 2017, and two months later, she announced that she was in remission.
When her cancer returned, the actress said she initially kept the news to herself, even while filming the 2019 series BH90210. The Heathers star said she wanted to prove that stage IV patients were able to work, but she also wanted to honor the memory of her former costar Luke Perry, who died in March 2019.
“It’s so weird for me to be diagnosed and then somebody who was, you know, seemingly healthy to go first,” she told GMA. “It was really, like, shocking. And the least I could do to honor him was to do that show. … 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.”
Doherty’s new movie is about a woman who reconnects with her biological daughter after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. The Webby Award winner plays the daughter’s adoptive mother. Asked if she made her own bucket list during her cancer battle, Doherty said that she hadn’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.”