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Shannen Doherty opens up on how cancer diagnosis affected filming of horror movie ‘Bethany’

The Charmed and Beverly Hills, 90210 actor revealed in February 2020 that the cancer had returned to stage four

Faiza Saqib
Wednesday 14 February 2024 00:21 GMT
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Shannen Doherty reveals she has stage four cancer

Shannen Doherty has said she received the news of her cancer diagnosis just a week or two before filming began for her horror movie Bethany.

The American actor, best known for shows such as Charmed and Beverly Hills, 90210, first announced her breast cancer diagnosis in 2015.

Doherty went into remission in 2017 but, in February 2020, confirmed the cancer had returned to stage four. Last November, she told her fans the cancer had spread to her bones, but that she would keep fighting the disease through treatment because “I’m not done with living”.

On 12 February, in an episode of her podcast Let’s Be Clear featuring director and screenwriter James Cullen Bressack, the actress, 52 opened up about how her cancer diagnosis affected her during filming.

Bressack, who directed Bethany, recalled the conversation that he and Doherty (who portrays Susan in the film) had when she found out about her diagnosis.

The star went into remission in 2017 but, in February 2020, confirmed the cancer had returned to stage four (Getty Images)

He said: "You called me when you had just started your meds and said, ‘I’m not sure if I can do this.’ I reassured you, ‘If you can’t manage it, we’ll find a solution, but I believe distracting yourself by working will be beneficial.’"

He continued, "And you showed up and gave it your all. I recall one instance when, perhaps due to the medication, you struggled with a particular speech, the one where you confront yourself in the mirror... it’s all about beauty and such."

During the podcast, she recalled a scene where she had to gaze into a mirror and touch her face, which Doherty said she found challenging.

"My mind was consumed by thoughts of cancer — what it meant and what lay ahead — and suddenly, I was confronted with this monologue that felt utterly disconnected," she said.

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After a discussion regarding the scene, Doherty and Bressack decided to approach the scene without words, "You suggested, ‘I’ll convey it with just a look,’" Bressack recalled.

"And you did. You looked in the mirror, tears welled up, and you didn’t utter a word. It was all there in your expression."

Doherty agreed and said: "It’s a moment I’m particularly proud of as an actor.”

“I believe it’s much more challenging to convey everything solely through expression; words can often be a crutch."

Last month, Doherty shared a “miraculous” health update in her years-long battle with cancer, describing a new kind of treatment that feels like God “is intervening”.

“I’m on a new cancer infusion and after four treatments, we didn’t really see a difference and everybody wanted me to switch, and I just kinda was like, ‘We’re gonna keep going with this and see,’ she said on an episode of her podcast.

“And yeah, after the sixth or seventh treatment, we really saw it breaking down the blood-brain barrier.”

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