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Shannen Doherty opens up about how breast cancer changed her desire to have kids

The actress says she wants kids but "there's fear there" after her health battle.
/ Source: TODAY

Shannen Doherty is opening up about how her battle with breast cancer has not only changed her physical ability to have children but altered her emotional perspective on starting a family.

Because cancer treatment threw her body into early menopause, Doherty says she and her husband can no longer conceive the traditional way.

Shannen Doherty opens up about her breast cancer and how it changed her
Shannen Doherty on the cover of Health magazine. Her career, she says, "is not a race for me anymore.”Health

“We’re having conversations about an egg donor, maybe adoption. But there’s fear there. Am I going to last five years? Ten years?” she said in an interview for Health magazine's March issue. “I certainly wouldn’t want my 10-year-old burying a mother. I’ve always wanted a kid. But maybe I’m supposed to mother in a different way.”

Doherty, 47, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and spent nearly two years in treatment before announcing in April 2017 she was in remission.

The “Beverly Hills 90120” actress said sharing the journey on social media helped her through the process.

Shannen Doherty opens up about her breast cancer and how it changed her
Because cancer treatment put her body into early menopause, Doherty says she and her husband are considering having a baby through egg donation or adoption. Health

“It was just about being as honest as possible. And then it became very important to me that I was there for people who were going through it,” she said. “I would never give medical advice because I’m not a doctor, but I would always say, ‘Advocate for yourself.’”

Being so public about her battle, including her reconstruction process, also had another side benefit.

“I get a little less trolls and haters on social media now, so that’s good. I think because cancer stripped me of my defense mechanisms, it allowed people to see all sides of me,” she said.

Doherty also shared how fighting breast cancer shaped her relationship with her husband, photographer Kurt Iswarienko.

“A pivotal moment for me was when I was deathly ill from the chemo. They were worried about my organs shutting down because I couldn’t keep anything in. One time, I couldn’t lift my head, I couldn’t suck on an ice cube, I was done. And Kurt was crying, saying, ‘Please don’t leave me,’” she told Health.

“I looked at him and thought, ‘I can’t do this to him.’ So I dug deep, gathered everything up, and charged forward again. Kurt and I got through one of the worst things a couple can go through, and we came out stronger.”

Doherty said she’s eager to return to work full-time but said her cancer battle has changed the way she views her career.

“I went through cancer and was methodical in putting a team together and in the decisions I made. That’s how I’m looking at my career now,” she said. “I’ve always been like, ‘I just need to work and make money.’ I didn’t ever choose with strategy, and now I’m a little more strategic. It’s not a race for me anymore.”