"It's a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways," said the actress, who had entered remission from breast cancer in 2017

By Benjamin VanHoose
February 04, 2020 09:25 AM
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Shannen Doherty revealed that her cancer has returned this week.

In an interview with ABC News that aired Tuesday morning on Good Morning America, the actress, 48, opened up about coming to terms with a return of her breast cancer after announcing that she was in remission in 2017.

“It’s going to come out in a matter of days or a week that I’m stage 4. So my cancer came back, and that’s why I’m here,” Doherty said. “I don’t think I’ve processed it. It’s a bitter pill to swallow in a lot of ways.”

Doherty, known for prominent TV roles in shows like Charmed and Beverly Hills, 90210, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, she revealed exclusively to PEOPLE at the time.

“I definitely have days where I say, ‘Why me?’ ” said Doherty of the development in her health. “And then I go, well, ‘Why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this?’ None of us do.”

Throughout her medical journey, the star kept fans updated with her experiences and progress, but with this news, Doherty said she initially tried to keep it somewhat private.

Shannen Doherty
| Credit: LISA O'CONNOR/AFP/Getty

One reason she didn’t want to tell people was because of the death of her friend and costar Luke Perry in March 2019.

“It’s so weird for me to be diagnosed and then somebody who was, you know, seemingly healthy to go first,” said Doherty. “It was really, like, shocking.”

Doherty said participating in the TV reboot of Beverly Hills, 90210, which aired last year on Fox, was the “least I could do” to honor Perry, but it was also an opportunity to prove that she could continue to work despite her health.

“One of the reasons, along with Luke, that I did 90210 and didn’t really tell anybody [was] because I thought, people can look at that [as] people with stage 4 can work too,” she explained in the ABC News interview.

She added: “Our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do.”

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A year ago, Doherty told Health magazine about how her cancer diagnosis forced her to become strong in a different way than she had been beforehand.

“I felt more feminine and vulnerable than I’ve felt in my entire life,” she said at the time. “I was always used to being the strong one, and during that time period, every wall I’d built up in my life came down.”

She continued: “I also had a lot more time to look at myself and say, ‘I’m a pretty okay person’ and cut myself some slack. I’ve had a lot of those epiphanies. It’s okay to stumble.”

Those personal epiphanies led her to be open about her cancer struggles, sharing her ups and downs with fans on social media to hopefully help others in their lives.

“It was just about being as honest as possible,” she said. “And then it became very important to me that I was there for people who were going through it.”