Doherty Opened Up to Dr. Oz.
- Actress Shannen Doherty, 51, once told Dr. Oz of her desire to have children.
- Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 after finding a lump in her breast which turned out to be cancerous. Her cancer later returned and spread to other parts of her body.
- Some cancer treatments can impact fertility; Doherty shared that she wanted children, but that cancer impacted her ability to have them.
The Hollywood icon and 90210 alumn, bravely shared with Dr. Oz in 2016 how her breast cancer diagnosis impacted her fertility. “I wanted children,” she told him.Read More
“I’m 44 and my husband and I wanted children,” Doherty told Dr. Oz. She also shared at the time that she’d be getting surgery soon. “They’re just breasts,” she tells Dr. Oz. “In the grand scheme of things, I would rather be alive and I would rather grow old with my husband.”
Doherty is married to photographer Kurt Iswarienko; they’ve been a married since 2011.
Shannen’s Breast Cancer Battle
Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 after finding a lump in her breast which turned out to be cancerous. She had hormone therapy to fight her cancer, but it was ineffective and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Doherty underwent a single mastectomy and also had chemotherapy and radiation. After going into remission, she announced in February 2020 that her cancer returned, and this time it had spread to other parts of her body.
Surgery, like the kind Doherty had (a single mastectomy), is a common treatment path for many people fighting breast cancer. In an earlier interview, an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute explains the path to surgery.
She says, “So when I talk to a woman who comes to me and she has breast cancer, I evaluate what the standard options for treatment for her are, which typically include cutting out the cancer– which is either a lumpectomy if you can get it all with just a little scooping around of the area that’s abnormal or a mastectomy for some women meaning taking the full breast because sometimes these lesions can be very extensive in the breast.”
Cancer & Fertility
Many people diagnosed with cancers that affect reproductive parts may choose to freeze their sperm or their eggs (for people battling ovarian, cervical, and other cancers) as a way to preserve their fertility prior to cancer treatment.
Some cancer treatments, like chemotherapy, can damage fertility, so it’s a preventative measure for people who may want to have children.
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Jaime Knopman, a reproductive endocrinologist at CCRM NY, said that time is of the essence when it comes to fertility conversations with your doctor.
“The sooner we start, the sooner that patient can then go on and do their treatment,” she said. “… Success comes down to how old you are at the time you froze and the quality of the lab in which your eggs or embryos are frozen in.”
If you’re having a treatment that includes infertility as a possible side effect, your doctor won’t be able to tell you for sure whether you will have this side effect. That’s why you should discuss your options for fertility preservation before starting treatment.