Shannen Doherty reveals that her cancer has returned and it’s stage 4

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Shannen Doherty shared in August 2015 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer earlier that year. She went public with the diagnosis because she was suing her former business manager for not paying her insurance premiums and mishandling her money. Shannen lost her insurance coverage, didn’t go to the doctor, and that may have delayed her diagnosis. Shannen has been documenting her journey and been honest about the difficulty she’s experiencing. We got some sad news on Tuesday, as Shannen revealed (again, because of a lawsuit) that she now has stage 4 breast cancer:

Shannen Doherty has always been transparent about the struggles she has faced. Now, the actress has revealed a new struggle that she’s kept out of the public eye.

“It’s going to come out in a matter of days or a week that — I’m stage four. So my cancer came back. And that’s why I’m here,” Doherty told ABC News’ Amy Robach in an interview that aired Tuesday on “Good Morning America.” “I don’t think I’ve processed it. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.”

In the interview, the 48-year-old opened up about her breast cancer’s recurrence and how she coping with it.

“I definitely have days where I say why me. And then I go, well, why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this? None of us do,” she said. “But I would say that my first reaction is always concern about how — how am I going to tell my mom, my husband.”

Shannen didn’t tell many people about her most recent diagnosis, because she was working on BH 90210, and wanted to prove that she could get her work done:

“One of the reasons, along with Luke [Perry’s passing]– that I did ‘90210’ and didn’t really tell anybody because I thought, people can look at that other people with stage four can work too. Like, you know, our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do,” she said.

While she kept her diagnosis a secret, telling only a small group of people, Doherty said she leaned on actor, Brian Austin Green, one of her “90210” co-stars, to help her get through grueling, 15-16 hours-long filming days on set.

“I had moments of great anxiety where I thought, ‘I can’t really do this,’ and Brian was the one person who — of that group of people that knew — that I told, like, pretty quickly and said, ‘Here, the — this is what I’m dealing with,'” she said. “So prior to shooting he would always call me and say, ‘Listen, you know, whatever happens, I have your back.’ He would look at me and be like, ‘We got this, kiddo’… so Brian helped me through a lot.”

[From Good Morning America]

Shannen felt forced to reveal her diagnosis because of another lawsuit: In 2018, her home was damaged by the Woolsey Fire, and though State Farm covered some of the damages, Shannen believes that there are claims that the company is unfairly denying. She’s suing, and knows that, again, her diagnosis will be revealed in court documents, and she wants to be the one telling the story. She said “I’d rather people hear it from me.” Shannen also said that she wants to control the narrative, which is understandable.

Poor Shannen. This is such sad news. Having to deal with a stage four cancer diagnosis on top of being stressed about a lawsuit must be unimaginably awful. Cancer that is in stage 4 has spread in the body. Treatments can help shrink tumors, improve symptoms and help individuals live longer. I know Shannen has a lot of people supporting her, including her husband, her mother, and friends, and I hope their love and presence makes it somewhat easier for Shannen right now. I hope that if State Farm is indeed in the wrong, it pays up like it should so that Shannen doesn’t need to worry about this garbage and can focus on her health.

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37 Responses to “Shannen Doherty reveals that her cancer has returned and it’s stage 4”

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  1. Aims says:

    This is such a personal story for me. My mother had battled breast cancer on and off for 20 years. She was given her last diagnosis five years before her death. It was stage 4 and had gone to her liver and bones. My automatic reaction to this story is sadness, because I know what’s in store for her and anyone else dealing with stage 4 cancer. I’m so deeply sorry that she and anyone else dealing with cancer, especially stage 4 cancer.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      I remember you commenting on your mom @Aims…❤️

    • Kristina says:

      Love to you, Aims. My moms’s story sounds almost identical to yours. My mom got stage 3 at 41, then had about a decade, then got stage 4. She was given 3 years and lived 7, trying every single harsh treatment they would offer. By the end, she was SO ill- paralyzed down one side from brain tumors, swollen from failing kidneys, white as a sheet, losing her memory, 5’ 11” tall but not even 100lb. Falling, crying, vomiting- then always sleeping. She ultimately died from suffocating from lung tumors. I try to block out our last phone conversation (she lived across the country and I couldn’t fly there in time)- the way she sounded trying to breathe, the “ow” in between. It was horrendous. I just cannot hear of ANY cancer without becoming emotional. I am so, so sorry, Shannen, and to your mother, AIMS. I cannot believe we can’t do better, STILL. Horrible way to pass.

      • Aims says:

        Kristina. We have the same story. My mother subjected herself to horrendous treatments. She even volunteered to do drug experiments. She was all about buying more time. She was down to less than 100 pounds when she passed. I remember when she called me and said that there was nothing else they could do and hospice was coming over and she wanted my dad and I to make the decisions for her when she could no longer do it herself. I sat at her dinner table as we were signing the paperwork, and an overwhelming tidal of emotion hit me. I had been so strong and at that moment it hit me that there was no longer any choices left for her. She was at the end of the road. It was pain and emotion that took over me and I fell apart. I looked over at my mother and she was crying along with me. There was an unspoken truth that we both knew and we knew what this meant. Losing my mother was the singly most heart wrenching, devastating experience I have ever had. She was the most vibrant, active person I had ever seen. By the end of her illness, she became unrecognizable. I am so sorry that you have had to experience this as well. I am so sorry that your mother had to go through this illness. It’s so hard for me to even talk about it. Because it was so traumatic for me. When I hear any woman get diagnosis with stage 4, I automatically want to cry. I lost my best friend, my kids lost their grandma. It’s such a cruel illness and I want it eradicated. I don’t ever want another family to have to go through the hell our family went through.

        Sending you the biggest hug. I’m so sorry that we’re members of this horrific club of women who lost their mom’s in the way we did.

      • Sojaschnitzel says:

        Kristina: many hugs to you. This is heart breaking.

      • mitikko says:

        Mom with stage IV breast cancer here… Bracing myself for what’s coming. My daughter is only 7.

      • Kristina says:

        @sojas thank you so much. @AIMS oh how I can relate to you. Your story brought me tears and yet I thank you for sharing it. I don’t want anyone to go through this, and I am so sorry for your loss. @MITTIKO I am SO SORRY. I did so much research, so desperate to find my mom a cure or a prolonging treatment. Please, try to locate a RESEARCH ONCOLOGIST. They will be better at getting you into trials and knowing current successes. I read about a medicine that just came out that can boost the success of chemo for stage 4 breast cancer-estrogen positive. Also, try to get into an immunology treatment plan- they spin up your immune cells and re-insert them, and it has proven to clear cancer for some, or basically make it undetectably low long-term like a chronic illness. It was way too late for my mom for both of those- PLEASE pursue them aggressively. The immunology trial was done in the UK. you can find me on IG by my name following cb! I’m happy to
        Chat and to listen. Best of luck!!!!

  2. Lenn says:

    As a breastcancer patient in remission for the second time, this makes me so very sad.

    • minx says:

      Me too, wish her all the best.

    • Sojaschnitzel says:

      Hugs to you. I hope all turns out well for you. Do not give up hope! I know that this is a complete nightmare for you right now but there are also success stories, not just the bad ones. <3

  3. Ellie says:

    I remember when watching Charmed, I didn’t like her. But she doesn’t deserve this. I m very sad, I thought she had won cancer… This is unfair.

  4. Marjorie says:

    Stage 4 is not necessarily incurable for all cancers, depends on many things. FYI I am a stage 2 survivor, nine years cancer free so far. My best friend died last year after diagnosis at late stage 3 and 3 years of torture and pain.

    I wish Shannen the best of life.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      Best wishes,I’m a breast cancer survivor too.

    • lucy2 says:

      Someone I know got treatment a year or two ago for stage 4 lung cancer, and she is doing so well, it’s amazing.

    • Kerfuffles says:

      Stage 4 is not incurable for all cancers but with current available treatments, stage 4 breast cancer is incurable. Those with stage 4 breast cancer can use various treatments to keep the cancer from growing/spreading for a time, but there is no cure and the five year survival rate is only 22%. It is the same disease that Elizabeth Wurtzel recently passed away from. More research dollars directed towards stage 4 cancer treatment are really needed.

  5. HK9 says:

    I wish her the best.

  6. McMom says:

    My aunt has had stage 4 cancer twice and has been in remission for nearly 10 years. It’s not always a dire prognosis.

  7. Lua says:

    We treat lots of stage four patients. Depending on what type of cancer, we can prolong lives for YEARS! The only stage four that is really an immediate death sentence is pancreatic and GBM

  8. Lua says:

    To clarify by immediate I mean months, not years prolonged 😬

  9. Carol says:

    Wishing Shannen all the best.

  10. Spicecake38 says:

    Wishing her all the best,and can I say along with F cancer,F the insurance companies too-The same insurance company screwed us several years ago and then dropped us so ,I really feel for Shannon she should not feel obligated to share this if she doesn’t want to and I hate hearing that she knew she had to because it would come out in the lawsuit…I hope she beats both beasts.

    • Aims says:

      What the insurance companies do is criminal, imo. The only thing a person should deal with is getting better, not worrying if their treatments are covered.

      • Kristina says:

        Oh man, I am so enraged with insurance. My mom had excellent insurance and worked until she literally could not just to keep it for fear of what would happen if she didn’t (I’m talking her husband walked her in, set her lunch on her desk, she sat at it all day, then was walked out at the end of the day. She was that ill). And she had debt collectors calling her constantly. She said, well, as long as I pay just a little, they can’t do anything to me. But that’s not the point! The pure stress. I was so upset about so many things happening around the end of her life. Awful.

      • Spicecake38 says:

        I am really,really sorry Kristina.

    • Kristina says:

      Thank you, @spicecake

  11. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    I was sad to hear this news. I’m wishing her the very best.

  12. Heather Bailey says:

    As a fellow BC survivor, when you hear about another BC survivors cancer returning, it’s very humbling. I’m heartbroken for her and her family and friends.

  13. TQB says:

    I was sucker punched by this. Poor Shannen. I’m happy now that the 90210 reboot happened; it must have been wonderful for her to be together with those people again – and for them to spend that time with her. She’s such a firecracker and I’ve just always loved her.

  14. lucy2 says:

    I’m sad for her with this, it has to be so stressful, plus having fire damage and lawsuits? She’s had a rough couple of years, I hope things get better for her.

  15. StormsMama says:

    Why me? Why not me?
    So well put.
    Wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone. It’s awful.
    I wish her the best.

  16. greenmonster says:

    I wish her all the best. I cried watching her interview. I said it several times on here, back in the day I was a huge Beverly Hills, 90210 fan – HUGE. To this day season 2 and 3 Brenda is my style icon 😀

  17. Lindsey G says:

    Hi all! Stage IV breast cancer patient here…I was diagnosed Stage II in 2011 and Stage IV in 2016. Stage IV breast cancer, also called metastatic breast cancer, is incurable but often treatable. While 80% of MBC (metastatic breast cancer) patients do pass away within 5 years, prognosis varies widely based on biology and other factors, and more treatment options are coming out all the time. It is an undeniably horrific illness though, and I am so sorry to hear the stories in this comment thread about people whose loved ones have died of the disease in such painful ways. Sadly, less than 5% of breast cancer research goes towards metastatic research specifically so we desperately need greater resources and understanding of our illness. Please consider going to to learn more or donate. I’ll be thinking of Shannen–and possibly reaching out as well–as someone who’s spent the majority of her 30s dealing with breast cancer…and will remain in treatment until I die or there is a cure. Much love to everyone here. I’ve never commented before but celebitchy has been wonderful escapism for me 😉 and I am grateful for that!

  18. Texas says:

    I lost my oldest friend any stepsister to recurring breast cancer. So sad.

  19. Jaded says:

    I lost my best friend to rapidly metastasizing BC last year and she finally chose an assisted death. I’m also am a BC survivor, 3 1/2 years. My heart goes out to Shannen and all you brave women who are survivors or have lost loved ones to it. Blessings.

  20. PutnamPrincess says:

    My mother died yesterday from stage 4 cancer that has spread from her tongue to her neck and lungs. The tumors were in her throat and she wasn’t able to breathe. I’m so sorry for her. My mom lived less than two months with her stage 4 diagnosis. She never ever smoked and got tongue cancer.

    • april says:

      I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my sister to Stage 4 esophageal cancer. She was given two weeks to live after being diagnosed. Prayers and blessing to you.

  21. Ai says:

    Oof. I was hoping that SD would be fine. Praying for everyone fighting cancer. I am trying to support a friend fighting breast cancer at the moment now too.