A heartbreaking update. Shannen Doherty revealed that her breast cancer spread to her brain earlier this year.
“On January 5th, my ct scan showed Mets in my brain,” the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum, 52, began in an Instagram post shared on Tuesday, June 6. “January 12, the first round of radiation took place. My fear is obvious. I am extremely claustrophobic and there was a lot going on in my life.”
Doherty’s post included a video that showed her receiving treatment with visible tears in her eyes. “I am fortunate as I have great doctors like Dr Amin Mirahdi and the amazing techs at cedar sinai,” the Charmed alum continued. “But that fear…. The turmoil….. the timing of it all…. This is what cancer can look like.”
One day earlier, the Tennessee native shared a video that showed her getting fitted for the mask she wears while receiving radiation treatments on her brain.
Doherty’s posts were flooded with supportive comments from fans and friends, with some people sharing their own cancer stories on her page. “This is a lot. This is a lot to take on, still again,” Selma Blair wrote on Tuesday. “And I am wishing for all the wise peace you have learned to find you in the terror moments. To know we are holding you. Love. All love.”
Kevin Smith, who directed Doherty in Mallrats and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, also offered words of love in the comments section, writing: “Rooting for you, my irreplaceable friend. You have been such a fearless fighter your whole life, so it’s understandable to be a little scared from time to time. But when those moments pass, let that indomitable Doherty spirit take over anew. I love you so much, my Mallrat.”
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.
In February 2020, however, the Heathers actress revealed that she’d been diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. “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 said that she initially kept the news to herself because she wanted to prove that people with cancer could still work. She also wanted to honor the memory of her Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Luke Perry, who died of a stroke at age 52 in March 2019, by continuing to film the revival series BH90210.
“It’s so weird for me to be diagnosed and then somebody who was, you know, seemingly healthy to go first,” she said on GMA, noting that her diagnosis came four months before Perry’s death. “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.”
Earlier this year, Doherty filed for divorce from husband Kurt Iswarienko, whom she wed in October 2011. “Divorce is the last thing Shannen wanted. Unfortunately, she felt she was left with no other option,” the actress’ rep, Leslie Sloane, told People in April, claiming that Iswarienko’s agent was “intimately involved” in their split.
Shortly before news of her breakup made headlines, Doherty took to social media to share a cryptic message about life and relationships. “The only people who deserve to be in your life are the ones who treat you with love, kindness and total respect,” she wrote via Instagram at the time.