Shannen Doherty Was Particularly Frightened About Radiation Treatment During Breast CancerC. Dixon
Shannen Doherty’s treatment plan ran the gamut when she had breast cancer. Throughout it all, she was incredibly open about sharing her experiences along the way. Even now that she’s beaten the disease, she still is a fierce advocate of awareness.
One treatment in particular was frightening to her: radiation.
The actress was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of 2015, but she didn’t go public with her battle until three months later, after news of a pending lawsuit against her former employer broke.
In 2014, her employers failed to pay an invoice for her insurance. This caused her to have a lapse in coverage until the following year. By the time Doherty visited the doctor in March 2015, when she had insurance again, she was diagnosed with invasive cancer. (To learn more about that story, check out her interview with Dr. Oz here.)
After going through treatment for a year, she underwent a single mastectomy in May of 2016. Following that were several rounds of chemotherapy, which caused her to start losing chunks of her hair. She shared images of her shaving her head on Instagram (which we wrote about here).
First day of radiation treatment. I look like I’m about to make a run for it which is accurate. Radiation is frightening to me. Something about not being able to see the laser, see the treatment and having this machine moving around you just scares me. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but right now…. I hate it. #radiation #radiationmondaysucks #stillfightinglikeagirl
But in August of 2016, the doctors delivered unfortunate news: not only had the cancer in her breast spread to more lymph nodes, but they feared it had spread even further.
In an interview with ET’s Jennifer Peros, she said, “I had breast cancer that spread to the lymph nodes, and from one of my surgeries we discovered that some of the cancer cells might have actually gone out of the lymph nodes. So for that reason, we are doing chemo, and then after chemo, I’ll do radiation.”
In mid-November, she had an expander put in. Then, at the end of November, she had her first radiation treatment.
“First day of radiation treatment. I look like I’m about to make a run for it which is accurate. Radiation is frightening to me. Something about not being able to see the laser, see the treatment and having this machine moving around you just scares me. I’m sure I’ll get used to it but right now…. I hate it.”
Throughout her treatment, Doherty was open about sharing her journey on talk shows and social media. It was certainly a difficult road for her, but she’s never shied away from sharing the emotional and physical impacts the disease has had on her.
She said she took the experience day by day, not wanting to look too far in the future so as not to get bogged down by the negative what-ifs of her diagnosis.
Doherty said one positive thing that has come out of this is helping other people. She hopes that sharing her struggle will help encourage other people battling cancer. It was easier for her to cope knowing she was helping at least one person out there, and she’s still helping people now that she’s cancer-free.