Shannen Doherty Is Focused on Working Amid Stage 4 Cancer: 'I'm Going to Keep Fighting to Stay Alive'

Shannen Doherty revealed she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in February 2020

Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty. Photo: Earl Gibson III/Getty

Shannen Doherty is stayingbusy amid her stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis.

The actress — who revealed her stage 4 diagnosis in February 2020 after previously entering remission in 2017 — opened up to ABC News about living with the disease and how cancer has pushed her to focus on her career.

Doherty shared with ABC that she's busy "living life," spending her days "with friends and family and working."

With two Lifetime movies set to premiere this month, Doherty has been hard at work — and she wants to change the misconception that people with stage 4 cancer are unable to perform like others. She told ABC that since her diagnosis, work has become even more important to her.

"I think work was always very fulfilling to me, but in a way it's become even more fulfilling. A lot of people who get diagnosed with stage 4, they sort of get written off," she explained to ABC. "It's assumed that they cannot work or they can't work at their full capacity. And that is not true and that is something that I would really like for people to sort of stop assuming, and give us a chance to prove them wrong."

Since announcing the return of her cancer, Doherty has been undergoing protocols, which are treatment plans to help fight the disease.

The 90210 star explained that she is currently on her first protocol, "which is a very, very big thing," she said. "You just want to last on your protocols as long as possible so that you don't run out of protocols."

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Although she previously said her recurrence news was "a bitter pill to swallow," Doherty sees a silver lining amid her health journey.

"You really have to dig deep to face cancer, and in that, you find all this stuff that you had hidden away," she told ABC. "And it's beautiful things that you find: you find the vulnerability, you find your trust in people again. You find forgiveness."

When asked by Nightline reporter Juju Chang why she refuses to keep a bucket list, Doherty explained that she prefers to set goals instead.

"A bucket list almost feels like those are things to check off before you die, and I never want to operate like that," she said. "I just want to operate as, I don't have things to check off because I'm going to keep fighting to stay alive."

Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty. Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Since sharing her stage 4 diagnosis last year, Doherty has been vocal about shattering the misconceptions of cancer. Last October, she said she felt "strong and healthy and confident and happy," telling Sarah Michelle Gellar for an Entertainment Tonight interview, "I want people to not hear stage 4 cancer and think of the person that is gray and falling over and they can't move and they're going into hospice and they can't work."

Last month, Doherty said she had come to accept her cancer as "part of my life."

"My husband [Kurt Iswarienko] says that you would never know that I have cancer," she said. "I never really complain. I don't really talk about it. It's part of life at this point."

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