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Shannen Doherty opens up on life post-cancer: 'I'm lucky to be alive'

"BH90210" star Shannen Doherty reveals that she feels "lucky to be alive" after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015.
Shannen Doherty
/ Source: TODAY

Shannen Doherty's experience with breast cancer began back in 2015, when a diagnosis suddenly changed the course of her life.

What followed was a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and reconstructive surgery — and, ultimately, healing.

But despite the fact that the actress announced that she was in remission two years after that fateful diagnosis, she wants to make it clear that she doesn't consider herself over the disease.

She considers herself changed by it.

"I really took good care of myself, and I came out of it in as good of condition I think somebody (in my situation) could be in," the 47-year-old revealed in an interview with People. "But the funny thing with cancer is that once you’re no longer on chemo or radiation, people think you’re fine, that you bounce back. But what they don’t realize is that your body has been through something so incredibly difficult that your body never fully bounces back."

That means that one part of her struggle is still being waged — the mental part.

"I’m trying to figure out how to accept who I am now," she said. "I’m never going to be the size I used to be. Some of my meds that I’m on keep zapping the collagen out of me, so I’m never going to have a wrinkle-free face. I’m critical of myself. But there are some things you can’t fight."

Which is why she believes one is never really "on the other side (of cancer)," and that perspective is important to her.

"I don’t think about the fact that I’m in remission," she explained. "I look at it like I’m lucky to be alive every minute, every second of the day."

Even when some of those moments are harder than they used to be.

Doherty told the publication that filming on her new "Beverly Hills, 90210" follow-up, "BH90210," has "taken a toll on her" and left her "exhausted," though she mainly blames that on her devotion to work.

But whether she's going through good times, tough times or tired times, she remains grateful to be able to experience it all.

"I try to live each day as an amazing, precious gift that I’ve been given," she said.