It’s not easy to be a #cancerslayer, and Shannen Doherty isn’t afraid to say it.
This past March, the 51-year-old Charmed star shared a series of powerful photos amid her battle with breast cancer, with which she was diagnosed in 2015.
“Early morning doctors visit for scans. Blurry eyed. Hair askew but the new bandage wraps made me smile! #cancerslayer,” she wrote in the caption of the series of two Instagram photos. One image shows a fresh-faced Doherty smiling softly beneath a mask at a doctor’s office. The other is a close-up shot of a pink bandage wrap with purple hearts, presumably covering an IV in her arm.
In 2017, the actress shared that she had entered remission. But just a couple of years later, in 2020, Doherty revealed in an emotional interview on Good Morning America that her cancer had returned, and it had reached stage IV.
“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 told GMA at the time.
Through the ups and downs of her fight, Doherty has never shied away from bringing her supporters along. In October 2021, the actress shared emotional details of her years-long reality, along with a series of photos taken along the way.
“For breast cancer awareness month, I’d like to share more of my own personal journey from my first diagnosis to my second,” Doherty wrote in the caption. “Is it all pretty? NO, but it’s truthful, and my hope in sharing is that we all become more educated, more familiar with what cancer looks like.”
Part of that hope, Doherty says, is that her story will motivate others to look after their own health in ways they might have previously turned a blind eye to.
“I hope I encourage people to get mammograms, to get regular checkups, to cut [through] the fear and face whatever might be in front of you,” she wrote.
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), stage IV breast cancer is considered “incurable” after spreading to other areas of the body. But, Prevention explains, treatments such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy can slow and even shrink tumors.
A positive attitude and a bit of laughter can’t hurt, either.
“I cheered myself up by putting on funny pajamas that my friend Kristy gave me. Did they actually cheer me up? Yes!!” Doherty continued. “I looked ridiculous, and in that ridiculousness, I was able to laugh at myself. Finding humor helped get me [through] what seemed impossible. I hope we all find humor in the impossible.”