Shannen praat met het tijdschrift Elle openhartig over haar kankerdiagnose. Zo laat ze weten nog niet klaar te zijn op dood te gaan nu ze uitbehandeld heeft, en ze het moeilijk vind om haar afscheid te plannen omdat ze zich niet ziek voelt. Lees hieronder een gedeelte van het interview, outtakes van de bijbehorende fotoshoot door haar man Kurt staan in de galerij,
Shannen Doherty Is Not Signing Off Just Yet
Fighting Stage IV breast cancer has forced some self-reflection, but the ’90s icon and so-called diva refuses to slow down.
On a cool evening in February 2019, Shannen Doherty invited some friends to a Venice, California, rental house for a dinner party. Doherty’s actual home was in Malibu, 20 miles north, but she and her husband, photographer Kurt Iswarienko, had fled the property a few months earlier, when a wildfire that started inland burned nearly 100,000 acres on its way to the Pacific Ocean. The couple’s house survived the blaze, but Doherty says the property sustained significant damage that made it uninhabitable.
The guest list for the dinner included only people Doherty trusted: her husband and the friends who knew the real Shannen—not the 1990s tabloid caricature, the loudmouthed bad girl with a temper. Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar was there, along with model Anne Marie Kortright, Malibu real estate agent Chris Cortazzo, and a Los Angeles doctor named Lawrence Piro.
Doherty had compiled the guest list, but it was Piro, her oncologist, who drove the conversation. Less than two years earlier, the actress had finished treatment for breast cancer, and Piro was at the dinner to explain that Doherty’s disease was back. The cancer, Piro said, was now metastatic (also known as Stage IV), meaning it had spread beyond Doherty’s breast and lymph nodes. “The way he presented everything to everyone was matter-of-fact,” Doherty, 49, tells me when we speak in June. The news was devastating, of course, and Doherty had invited Piro so her friends could get answers to the questions she knew they would have. Would she die of this? Probably. Would she die soon? Probably not. Why did this happen? It was impossible to know. Could this be treated? Yes, to a point. “Everybody got to ask questions and know what we were looking at as a group, as a team,” Doherty says.
About 300,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. In the majority of cases, initial treatment for the disease is effective, curing the patient. But in a significant share of cases, the breast cancer returns, either to the breast or nearby lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. In Doherty’s case, despite the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation she had undergone after her first diagnosis, it seemed that some cancer cells had survived the assault and made their way to her spine. Eventually, the disease will most likely spread further, to Doherty’s brain, lungs, liver, or some combination thereof.
Still, there was reason for hope, Piro told the group. Treatment for metastatic breast cancer, which was once an automatic death sentence, has advanced in recent years, with patients living longer and having a better quality of life. Some survive for a decade or more. Doherty’s treatment would include hormone therapy to block the estrogen fueling her cancer, plus a second targeted drug that is often effective at stabilizing metastatic disease. If this didn’t work, there were other drug combinations to try, but the bottom line was that Doherty would be in treatment for the rest of her life. As Piro explained all this, his patient sat at the table, listening.
Nearly 30 years after she played Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210, Doherty is still striking, with high cheekbones and shiny, jet-black hair. “I think people have a mental picture of Stage IV cancer as someone sitting in a gray hospital gown, looking out a window on their deathbed,” Iswarienko, tells me. “I don’t see a cancer patient when I look at Shannen. I see the same woman I fell in love with. She looks healthy and vital.”