'Why not me?' Last year, Shannen Doherty was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. 

Weeks before the sudden death of her friend and former on-screen love interest Luke Perry in March 2019, Shannen Doherty was told she had stage four cancer.

The 48-year-old, best known for her roles on Beverly Hills, 90210 and Charmed, told Good Morning America she had been living with the news privately for a year.

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

Shannen Doherty spoke to Good Morning America. Post continues below video.

Video via ABC

Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She documented her treatment – from chemotherapy to radiotherapy to a single mastectomy – through social media, and in 2017 announced she was in remission.

Then in early 2019, she was told of her recurrence.

“I definitely have days where I say ‘why me?’. And then I go, well, ‘why not me? Who else? Who else besides me deserves this?’ None of us do,” she said.

“And I would say that my first reaction is always concern about how, how am I going to tell my mum, my husband.”

After being diagnosed last year, and about four months after the sudden death of Perry from a stroke, Doherty returned to work to film the 90210 reboot.

“Why wasn’t it me? It was so weird for me to be diagnosed and then somebody who was seemingly healthy to go first,” Doherty told GMA through tears.

“It was really shocking and the least I could do to honour him was to do that show. I still haven’t done enough in my opinion.”


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Along with Perry’s death, Doherty said she agreed to do the show – which often involved gruelling 16 hour days on set – to prove that she could still work and show that others with stage 4 can too.

“Our life doesn’t end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do,” she said.

She kept the news secret, telling only her family and one cast member, Brian Austin Green, who she named as a big support.

Doherty had planned to keep her diagnosis private, but chose to give the interview in anticipation of it coming out in a legal battle she is facing against her insurance company State Farm.

“I’d rather people hear it from me. I don’t want it to be twisted. I don’t want it to be a court document. I want it to be real and authentic,” Doherty said. “And I want to control the narrative. I want people to know from me, I just didn’t want them to know yet.”

Doherty is suing State Farm, which she said will not give her the full amount of money she is owed for damage caused to her home by 2018’s devastating California wildfires.

State Farm said it empathised with Doherty’s health issues but was prepared to defend its position in court in a statement provided to GMA.

It is recommended women aged 50 to 74 have a free screening mammogram every two years for the early detection of breast cancer. 

Feature image: Good Morning America.