Shannen Doherty Talks Her Fear of Dying Before Her Mother Amid Stage 4 Cancer Battle

Doherty was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. After a period of remission, it resurfaced in 2020, this time stage four.

Shannen Doherty Talks Her Fear of Dying Before Her Mother Amid Stage 4 Cancer Battle


6:15 AM PDT, April 2, 2024

Shannen Doherty is simplifying her life to ease the burden on her mother in case the actress loses her battle with cancer prior to her mother's death.

During Monday’s podcast episode for Let's Be Clear, the Charmed alum opened up about her journey of letting go as she grapples with stage 4 breast cancer. The 52-year-old shared her emotional process of decluttering her life, with a focus on making things easier for her family, particularly her mother, Rosa, after she passes away.

The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and later went into remission. In 2020, it was revealed that Doherty's breast cancer had returned and was at stage four. Then, over the course of 2023, Doherty said that the cancer had spread to her brain and to her bones. The same year, she also filed for divorce from husband Kurt Iswarienko after 11 years of marriage.

"My priority at the moment is my mom," Doherty admitted during her podcast. She expressed her focus is ensuring her mother's well-being during what she knows will be a difficult time. "Because it’s going to be so hard on her, I want other things to be a lot easier," she expressed. “I don’t want her to have a bunch of stuff to deal with. I don’t want her to have four storage units filled with furniture."

Facing the reality of her illness, Doherty embarked on the challenging task of sorting through her possessions, aiming to donate or sell items collected over the years. She shared her experience of letting go of her dream of living on her Tennessee property and fostering horses, a vision she had cherished. 

"It was really hard and really emotional because to a certain extent — I felt like I was giving up on this dream of building this property out, and putting a house for me and a house for my mom and then extending the barn," she confessed tearfully.

However, with her mother's support and her realization of the dream's impracticality, Doherty found peace in the decision to let go. She acknowledged that abandoning the property was "the right thing to do," leading her to redirect her focus toward supporting horse rescues, a cause close to her heart.

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The Charmed star continues to address her health and history on her weekly podcast, and recently told ET how she hopes to make a difference by sharing her story. 

"I just hope that any industry -- whether it be the entertainment industry, whether it be banks, whether it be where people are getting jobs -- not look at people with stage 4 cancer, with which whatever kind of cancer it is, and count them out and say, 'Well, they're gonna get too tired,' or 'They're not gonna remember this,' or 'They’re gonna make mistakes,'" Doherty told ET of the goals for her podcast.

"I hope that they realize that people with cancer, really with any terminal disease, there's a level of appreciation for every second of every day of your life that you pay attention to detail even more," she continued. "I hope that they realize that... people that are sick like I am need to work desperately, because it's what helps us keep going forward."