IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Shannen Doherty on stage 4 breast cancer bout: 'I've got a lot of life in me'

"I try to treasure all the small moments that most people don’t really see or take for granted."
/ Source: TODAY

Shannen Doherty wants fans to know that her stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis doesn't mean that she's "signing off" any time soon.

"It’s like anybody with Stage IV faces this sort of thing, where others want to put you out to pasture," Doherty, 49, told Elle magazine. "I’m not ready for pasture. I’ve got a lot of life in me."

COS and Margaret Qualley celebrate L.A. Dance Project's L.A. Dances
"I try to treasure all the small moments that most people don't really see or take for granted," Doherty said of living with stage 4 breast cancer.Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images

The former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star said she was alone the day her oncologist called to break the news that a PET scan revealed her breast cancer, which she was originally diagnosed with in 2015, had returned and it had spread to her spine.

Doherty hung up the phone and began crying as she paced around her house.

"I was like, 'OK, do I have good karma? Do I have bad karma? Why would I have bad karma?' I started taking stock of my life and the things I'd done, and the things I hadn’t done. How I was with people," she revealed.

She eventually reached a conclusion. "At the end of that, what I came out with was, I have good karma," she said. "It may not seem like it, but I’ve been a really good human being."

18th Annual People's Choice Awards
Doherty and "Beverly Hills, 90210" co-star Luke Perry at the 18th Annual People's Choice Awards in 1992. Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The former "Charmed" star started hormone therapy to block the estrogen fueling her cancer. She also began taking a drug that often helps stabilize metastatic disease.

Weeks after her diagnosis, Doherty was rocked again when her "90210" co-star Luke Perry died at age 52 of a massive stroke. The pair grew apart when the series ended, but reconnected in recent years.

Though Doherty originally hadn't wanted to participate in Fox's short-lived 2019 "BH90210" reboot, Perry's shocking death changed her mind. She hoped the show might honor Perry — and be a chance to prove to herself that she could act with stage 4 breast cancer

"Things happen and you go, 'All right, this is what I’m supposed to be doing at this moment,'" she explained.

Now, Doherty said, she's relying on the lessons she learned during her first cancer diagnosis, which, she once said, made her a "better human being."

"I try to treasure all the small moments that most people don’t really see or take for granted," she said. "The small things are magnified for me. We have this endless well within us, and it’s just about continuing to dig in that well for the strength to face adversity — and so that we can also see all the beauty."

She also wants to make sure the people in her life know how much she loves them.

"I haven’t sat down to write letters. That’s something I need to do ... There are things I need to say to my mom. I want my husband to know what he’s meant to me," she said, her voice cracking.

"But whenever it comes time for me to do it, it feels so final. It feels like you’re signing off, and I’m not signing off," she added. "I feel like I’m a very, very healthy human being. It's hard to wrap up your affairs when you feel like you’re going to live another 10 or 15 years."