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Shannen Doherty Almost Gave up Her Breast Cancer Fight Until Husband Begged, ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’

Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty/Instagram

Shannen Doherty’s cancer is in remission, but there was a time she didn’t think she would make it this far.

In an interview with Health, the 47-year-old actress opened up about her battle with breast cancer. After being diagnosed in 2015, Doherty tried treating the cancer with hormone therapy. However, the cancer moved to her lymph nodes.

So in 2016, Doherty underwent a single mastectomy, followed by chemotherapy, radiation, and reconstructive surgery.

Along the way, Doherty shared her cancer fight on social media, hoping that her openness would help others going through the same thing.

Doherty said her lowest point came when she was taking a shower, and her hair started coming out in clumps — that was the moment when things became real. Doherty’s mom was there to help and lifted her daughter’s mood as they shaved her head.

But when Doherty was about to give up, it was her husband, Kurt Iswarienko, who helped her pull through.

She told Health that it happened while she was “deathly ill” from the chemotherapy:

“They were worried about my organs shutting down because I couldn’t keep anything in. One time, I couldn’t lift my head, I couldn’t suck on an ice cube, I was done. And Kurt was crying, saying, ‘Please don’t leave me.'”

Her husband’s plea inspired her to keep going. Doherty added:

“I looked at him and thought, ‘I can’t do this to him.’ So I dug deep, gathered everything up, and charged forward again. Kurt and I got through one of the worst things a couple can go through, and we came out stronger.”

The experience has been transformative for Doherty. It redefined how she thinks about appearance and made her less concerned with the “physical shell” and more interested in strength, grace, and compassion.

It has also changed the way she looks at having a family. Before cancer, Doherty had been open about wanting children. Now, she can’t get pregnant and can’t take the risk of taking estrogen pills because they could cause her cancer to return.

There are other options, but Doherty told Health that she worries about how long she’ll be around for her children:

“We’re having conversations about an egg donor, maybe adoption. But there’s fear there. Am I going to last five years? Ten years? I certainly wouldn’t want my 10-year-old burying a mother. I’ve always wanted a kid. But maybe I’m supposed to mother in a different way.”

For now, she’s looking forward to getting back to work and enjoying the little things in life. And as strange as it might sound, she’s grateful for the ways that cancer made her a better person. As she told Health:

“As brutal as it was, cancer was a gift. It opened me up, it taught me about myself, and it changed me as a human being forever.”

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  1. Some honest, heartfelt thoughts from someone in Hollywood. Kudos to Shannen! We like to bash on Hollywood a lot so here’s a reality check -some of them have real life experiences and learn from them the important things in life. Sorry about your mothering struggles, Shannen. There are other ways to Mother! Wishing you and your husband the best going forward. Don’t forget these lessons learned. Each days a gift now, right?

  2. Thank you very much for being that brave person, i am a survivor of cervical cancer bleeding for months and the pain you go through is unbearable, I had given up but than my husband said he was never cut out to bring up the children alone, my youngest was only 2yrs old, so I said God this is your call give me that courage to go under the knife and I did. My baby is now 19yrs old even though I wanted a big family but that I couldn’t have after the operation but I am thankful that I’ve fought the cancer and I am rid of it.

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