Shannen Doherty Is On a Mission to Show That People with Cancer 'Are Very Much Alive and Active'

Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Although she entered remission two years later, the Charmed alum announced in 2020 that her cancer had returned.

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Shannen Doherty refuses to make a bucket list because she says for her, breast cancer isn't a death sentence, but merely one part of her life.

The actress recently spoke about her battle with the disease at a virtual panel for her upcoming Lifetime film, List of a Lifetime. "I just think a bucket list is odd in my particular situation because it means that I'm sort of trying to check things off before my time runs out," said Doherty, according to People.

"I'm very much like there's no bucket list because I'm going to be the longest-living person with cancer," the actress, 50, continued. "If I had to say one, it would just be living. That's the only thing on my list at this point."

The Charmed alum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. Two years later, she announced she was in remission. Unfortunately, in 2020, Doherty revealed her cancer had returned, this time at stage 4.

"I feel like I have a responsibility in my more public life, which I separate from my acting life, to talk about cancer and perhaps educate people more and let people know that people with stage 4 are very much alive and very active," said Doherty, adding that her husband of a decade, Kurt Iswarienko, said most people would never know she had cancer. "I never really complain," she added. "I don't really talk about it. It's part of life at this point."

List of a Lifetime, which premieres Sunday, Oct. 10, centers around a woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer (Kelly Hu), and her mission to reconnect with the daughter she gave up for adoption (Sylvia Kwan). It's Doherty's first cancer-related role, and she was pleasantly surprised that she didn't need to employ too much of her real-life experience to make the project work. (

"I didn't have to give anybody advice because [of director Roxy Shih] and these beautiful ladies who did such a beautiful job with their own preparation process. We all showed up and honestly, this was truly an unbelievable pleasure to be a part of," she said. "I was blown away every second that I got to work with these amazing ladies."

In a post shared last month on Instagram, Doherty revealed that she got to direct additional special content surrounding the project, which is set to air during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"For me, being a part of this is very special as the movie is about breast cancer and then to be able to direct these wonderful ladies who do an amazing job in the movie," she wrote. "Plus direct our actual director for the movie…. Well needless to say it was one of my favorite days." (

Doherty has been candid about her desire to portray cancer realistically in the public eye, as well as the public's perceptions and responses to cancer patients.

"I love it when people say, 'we're praying for you,' and everything else, but there comes a point when you're like, 'I got this. I'm fine. I'm good,'" she told pal Sarah Michelle Gellar in an October 2020 interview with Entertainment Tonight. "There are a lot of people in the world who could use prayers, and I'm feeling great. I have an amazing medical team behind me."

She added at the time, "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. You get written off so quickly, even though you're vital and healthy and happy and wanting to go out there and work. So, I'm sharing in order to hopefully give a different face to all of this."

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