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Shannen Doherty opens up about cancer: 'It tears you down and builds you'

The former "Beverly Hills, 90210" actress spoke about her diagnosis on Chelsea Handler's Netflix show.
/ Source: TODAY

Some might want to stay out of the public spotlight while battling a life-threatening disease, but Shannen Doherty is making sure her fight with breast cancer remains front and center in the hopes of inspiring others.

The 45-year-old recently spoke out about what it's been like during an interview with Chelsea Handler on Netflix's "Chelsea," and says she's learned a lot.

MORE: Shannen Doherty's breast cancer has spread: 'The unknown is the scariest part'

"What’s beautiful and hard and interesting about cancer is that it tears you down and builds you, and tears you down and builds you," the former "Beverly Hills, 90210" actress revealed. "It remakes you so many different times. The person I thought I was supposed to be or was going to be or who I thought I was six months ago is now somebody completely different. I realize 'Wow, I really thought that I was so brave and so gracious this entire time and really I was just hiding.'"

Handler lost her mother to breast cancer in 2006, so it's no surprise that she teared up.

"Don't cry!" Doherty urged in the video.

Doherty was diagnosed in March 2015 with the cancer, and in early 2016 learned it had spread to her lymph nodes. She had a mastectomy in May and plans to undergo radiotherapy after her chemo treatments end.

"This was very hard and not humbling — because I've already been humbled by cancer," Doherty added. "It was hard in the sense of rethinking sort of who you are and how you come to terms with who are now and accepting it and looking at your husband and thinking like, 'Dude, I'm so sorry.'"

This is far from the first time Doherty has been open with fans about her struggle; she's posted multiple images on social media that offer a walk-through of what it's like to live with cancer, from a post-chemo workout to the moment she shaved her head.

MORE: Sarah Michelle Gellar cheers 'brave friend' Shannen Doherty as star battles cancer

Her husband, Kurt Iswarienko, has appeared in a lot of the documentation, and she is clearly heartened to have his support.

"My marriage was always strong, but it's made my marriage a thousand times stronger," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I could not have gotten through this without my husband."

The full interview with Handler will air on Netflix Oct. 28.

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