Shannen Doherty Posts 'Truthful' Photos of Her Cancer Battle

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Shannen Doherty is showing the very real side of battling cancer. The 50-year-old actress took to Instagram on Thursday, amid Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to share "truthful" photos she's taken of herself amid her health struggles.

One pic in Doherty's post was a selfie that showed her with a bald head and a bleeding nose. The second shot featured Doherty sleeping in Cookie Monster pajamas, complete with a matching eye mask.

"For breast cancer awareness month, I’d like to share more of my own personal journey from my first diagnosis to my second," Doherty captioned the images. "Is it all pretty? NO but it’s truthful and my hope in sharing is that we all become more educated, more familiar with what cancer looks like. I hope I encourage people to get mammograms, to get regular checkups, to cut thru the fear and face whatever might be in front of you."

Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. At the time, she treated the disease with chemo and radiation, both of which had serious side effects.

"I had many nose bleeds from the chemo. Not sure if any of you experienced this. I also was beyond tired," she wrote. "I cheered myself up by putting on funny pajamas that my friend Kristy gave me. Did they actually cheer me up? Yes!! Lol. I looked ridiculous and in that ridiculousness, I was able to laugh at myself."

"Finding humor helped get me thru what seemed impossible," Doherty added. "I hope we all find humor in the impossible."

Doherty's cancer eventually went into remission, but returned in 2019 at stage four. While she didn't publicly reveal the return of her cancer until 2020, Brian Austin Green, her Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star, was privy to her health situation from very early on.

The actress recently told ET's Rachel Smith that she confided in Green about her health when he was trying to get her to join the teen drama's 2019 reboot, BH90210.

"I had turned down the 90210 reboot a few times. With Luke [Perry]'s passing and how hard that hit me, being diagnosed with stage four [cancer], things just kind of shifted a little bit," she explained to ET. "Brian had always been calling me, pursuing me, saying, 'Come on, let's do it. Let's do it. Let's do it. You and me.' And so I opened up to him and I explained sort of what I was dealing with what my fears were."

After Doherty got candid with Green, the current Dancing With the Stars contestant reassured her that "he was going to be there every second." That proved true when the reboot began filming in Canada.

"Brian would come to my hotel, he would literally call me and be like, 'I’m outside,' and [he] would force me to, you know, let's go walk, let's go eat, let's go adventure, let's go do this. It's good to do that," Doherty said. "He also just checked in on a regular basis. Even on days that he wasn't working, he would just text me and say, 'How are you doing? How are you feeling? Is everything OK?'"

The support from Green meant a lot to Doherty, as she told ET, "It was nice having someone from the very, very, very beginning knowing what I was sort of worried about."

"It ended up not being an issue... having cancer didn't impact my work, or my hours, or anything," she said. "Nobody knew except people who I actually chose to share it with, but it was still nice knowing initially that someone was aware of what was happening."

When Doherty did end up sharing her cancer battle publicly, she said that it "helped" her to see that "there were other people going through it."

"There was that cancer community, that cancer family, that sort of rallied around you. It was everybody," she said. "It didn't matter if you had breast cancer or a different kind of a cancer, you still rally around each other."

"The sharing of information, the sharing of support, the sharing of love, was healing. It gave me a lot of strength and it helped me continue to be brave," Doherty added. "As much as I may struggle with social media, I will forever be thankful for it, just for those moments alone."

Now, Doherty told ET that she's "very blessed" to be "doing amazing." She's also channeled her experience with breast cancer into a new project, appearing in Lifetime's List of a Lifetime.

The film, which stars Kelly Hu and Sylvia Kwan, follows a woman (Hu) who, after she's diagnosed with breast cancer, sets out to find the daughter she gave up for adoption (Kwan) to warn her that she may be at risk. Once reunited, the biological mother-daughter pair set out to complete a bucket list, all behind the back of the daughter's adoptive mom (Doherty).

"I think it's emotional to be attached to any project that you're proud of, any project that you think is impactful and going to make a difference," Doherty told ET of the film. "... Cancer does not discriminate. It chooses anyone, at any point in time, so you have to be forever diligent. So yes, it was emotional, but in a very, very good way, in a very positive way, and in an impactful way."

List of a Lifetime will debut on Lifetime Oct. 10. Doherty is also set to star in Dying to Belong, which will premiere  Oct. 9 on the network.

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