Shannen's new movie 'Hot Seat' premiered in select theaters across the country on July 1.
Published Jul 5, 2022
Positive support is crucial during cancer.
Actress and stage 4 breast cancer warrior Shannen Doherty, 51, has recently gotten some mixed reviews over her latest project with controversial star Mel Gibson, but overall, fans are excited!
Let’s face it, Shannen’s appeal to fans has always been a little bit controversial. After all, she played bad girl Brenda Walsh on Beverly Hills, 90210 (though we are not condoning Gibson’s offensive behavior, for which he has since apologized for).
The actor, during a 2006 DUI arrest drinking and driving in Malibu, let out an unfortunate derogatory slur against Jewish people (and followed up with a racial outburst a few years later) and was blacklisted from Hollywood—until now that is.
The film Hot Seat reunites the well-known animal lover with director James Cullen Bressack. Along with Gibson, the cast also includes Kevin Dillon, Chad Michael Murray and Britney Spears’ husband, Sam Asghari.
Doherty previously worked with Bressack on the Bruce Willis film, 2021’s Survive the Game.
Doherty recently took to Instagram to promote her new film, and overall there were some positive comments, but some fans also let her have it in the comments section.
“Omg this is going to be so exciting ahh congrats on the new film, Shannen,” one supporter wrote.
“Cannot wait!!! Every project you do is always crafted well and the acting is always on POINT,” said another.
“See you have been busy making movies great to see you keep a positive mind about .Looks good,” chimed in a third.
Some of the not-so-stoked responses?
“Love ya, but will have to give this one a miss, can’t support anything with Mel Gibson in,” said one follower, while a second weighed in:
“Sorry- can’t do mel Gibson …. He kinda hates my people. I don’t know why he is still hired.”
At least the bummed out responses were still respectful enough toward Doherty, but her association with Gibson is disappointing for some of her supporters. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Hollywood is often full of second—and third chances—and although it is an unfortunate situation with Gibson’s past offenses to so many people, we can understand Doherty’s desire to keep working. It must be a tough decision, but at least some of her people are standing by her.
At least the people who are disappointed are not attacking Doherty directly, as we all know how tough social media can be sometimes.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a life-altering event, and finding pockets of normalcy during the battle is often welcome. For most people, even Doherty, continuing to work or going back to work every day — if you’re well enough to do so — can be an effective strategy for keeping things as “normal” as possible during an abnormal health event like cancer.
Doherty makes it clear in her social media posts that she loves her job and is eager to continue working despite her cancer diagnosis.
Laurie Ostacher, a clinical social worker at Sutter Health’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation, tells SurvivorNet how important a person’s career may be to them, even during the cancer battle. “Some women choose to continue working (through cancer) because working is a significant part of their identity,” she says. “They enjoy the job, and there’s flexibility built in.” This is something Shannen Doherty can attest to.
“I help folks think about whether it makes sense to work,” she adds. “If you really don’t want to but are worried you’re not going to be able to make ends meet, then I’ll sit down and help them figure out, you know, with your disability insurance, would this be possible?”
Ostacher explains the questions she might pose to women to probe them to think about how their work life might look through cancer.
“For women who choose to work,” she says, “I help them think about what types of conversations do you need to have with their employer? How much information do you want to share with him or her? What type of work schedule seems like it might work for you? Where might you need more flexibility?”
Shannen Doherty’s battle with breast cancer dates back to 2015, which is when she was first diagnosed with the disease; a lump was found in her breast, and it turned out to be malignant (cancerous). To fight the cancer, she underwent hormone therapy, but the treatments were ineffective; the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
The actress underwent a single mastectomy — surgery to remove a breast; she also had chemotherapy and radiation treatments. One common treatment path for many people fighting breast cancer is surgery, such as a mastectomy or lumpectomy. (A lumpectomy is a surgery to remove cancerous breast tissue along with a rim of normal tissue.)
Doherty’s cancer went into remission, but she announced in February 2020 that her cancer had returned, and it had spread to other parts of her body. This is stage 4 cancer, also known as metastatic disease.
Stage 4, or metastatic, cancers have spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body. When breast cancer spreads, it most commonly goes to the bones, liver and lungs. It may also spread to the brain or other organs.
Experts say that with advanced disease, the goal of treatment is to keep you as stable as possible, slow the tumor growth and improve your quality of life.
Shannen has been living each and every day and is a role model to many thrivers, survivors, and non-survivors alike.