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Charmed Star Shannen Doherty Reveals Breast Cancer Has Spread to Her Brain
“This is what cancer can look like,” the actor wrote to Instagram fans.
After spending the better part of a decade in and out of treatment and remission for breast cancer, Charmed star Shannen Doherty has revealed to fans that the persisting disease has recently metastasized and spread to her brain. In an emotionally candid social media post, the 52 year-old actor gave Instagram followers a glimpse inside her treatment earlier this year at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, along with the message that “This is what cancer can look like.”
First diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Doherty has continued her acting career amid ongoing periods of remission and the disease’s return. As she explained to fans, her latest medical update has been concerning: “On January 5th, my ct scan showed Mets [metastasis] in my brain,” she wrote.
Explaining the mask that covers her face in the video, which was recorded in January, Doherty confessed that her recent cycle of computed topography (CT) scans and radiation treatment has been frightening.
“Yesterdays video was showing the process of getting fitted for the mask which you wear during radiation to your brain,” she wrote on Instagram. “January 12, the first round of radiation took place. My fear is obvious. I am extremely claustrophobic and there was a lot going on in my life. I am fortunate as I have great doctors like Dr Amin Mirahdi and the amazing techs at cedar sinai. But that fear…. The turmoil….. the timing of it all…. This is what cancer can look like.”
Alongside Alyssa Milano (Phoebe) and Holly Marie Combs (Piper), Doherty was one of the three original cast members of Charmed, which first debuted on the former WB Network in 1998 and quickly became an turn-of-the-millennium pop culture touchstone. Hugely popular in its own time as well as deeply influential on subsequent supernatural series that would later follow (including The CW’s 2018 reboot fantasy series of the same name), Charmed followed the San Francisco exploits of do-good witch trio the Halliwell sisters, with Doherty playing the role of Prue through the show’s first three seasons.
Though Doherty revealed in 2020 that she was undergoing treatment after her breast cancer had returned and spread, she’s continued to appear in both movies and on TV, where since 2019 she’s appeared in projects including BH90210 (featuring members of the original cast of Beverly Hills, 90210), Riverdale (in an episode that honored the late Luke Perry), and the 2021 drama List of a Lifetime.
Longtime friends and Hollywood colleagues rushed to lend their support in the wake of Doherty’s recent Instagram reveal, with actors Selma Blair and Sarah Michelle Gellar both sending messages of encouragement across social media, via NBC News. “You are a warrior,” wrote Gellar.