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The One Thing Shannen Doherty Wants You to Know About Stage 4 Cancer

The actor said she feels a "responsibility" to tell the public this.

Shannen Doherty appeared in some of the most iconic '90s movies and TV shows, including 90210, CharmedMallratsGirls Just Want to Have Fun, and Heathers. The 50-year-old actor is still working today, and will soon appear in a movie that centers around cancer. This will be the first movie related to cancer that Doherty has made since her own cancer diagnosis. In 2015, the star revealed she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer, and though she entered remission for some time, she shared in 2020 that her cancer was back and in stage 4. Now, Doherty is saying what she wants everyone to know about having stage 4 cancer. Read on to see her message.

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Shannen Doherty wants everyone to know people with stage 4 cancer are "very much alive."

Shannen Doherty
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

On Sept. 14, Doherty spoke during a virtual panel for the upcoming Lifetime movie List of a Lifetime. Doherty told reporters there was a misconception she wanted to clear up. Per People, Doherty said, "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."

This isn't the first time Doherty set out to clarify that people with stage 4 cancer have vitality. "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," Doherty told her longtime friend Sarah Michelle Gellar during an interview with Entertainment Tonight in Oct. 2020. "You get written off so quickly, even though you're vital and healthy and happy and wanting to go out there and work." Doherty said she's sharing these sentiments in hopes of giving a "different face to all of this."

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The actor said cancer is just part of her life now.

Shannen Doherty
DFree / Shutterstock

Further proving her point that people with stage 4 cancer can have normal lives, Doherty told reporters, "My husband says that you would never know that I have cancer." The actor has been married to photographer Kurt Iswarienko since 2011. Doherty added, "I never really complain. I don't really talk about it. It's part of life at this point."

In October, she told Geller that she was doing better than OK. "I feel strong and healthy and confident and happy," Doherty said at the time.

Doherty appreciated the research her co-stars did about cancer to prepare for filming.

Shannen Doherty 2019

Appearing in List of a Lifetime has been a bit of a different experience for Doherty, since it was the first time since her diagnosis that she's worked on a movie with cancer at the core of the plot. Doherty said she's been "pretty careful" about combining her craft and her real-life experiences, but she said she was drawn to the film after reading the script.

Doherty has had a positive experience working on the film, because she felt everyone did their research. "I didn't have to give anybody advice because [of director Roxy Shih] and these beautiful ladies who did such a beautiful job with their own preparation process," she said of her co-stars. "We all showed up, and honestly … this was truly an unbelievable pleasure to be a part of, and I was blown away every second that I got to work with these amazing ladies."

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The star doesn't have a bucket list for herself.


List of Lifetime centers around a woman with cancer who sets out to check off goals on her bucket list. However, Doherty doesn't have anything of that nature in mind for herself. "I just think a bucket list is odd in my particular situation because it means that I'm sort of trying to check things off before my time runs out," she reflected. "I'm very much like, there's no bucket list because I'm going to be the longest-living person with cancer." Doherty added that if she had to have a bucket list goal, "it would just be living. That's the only thing on my list at this point."

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