Shannen Doherty has hit the remission stage of her battle with breast cancer. She shared the news with her over 900,000 Instagram followers on Friday, along with a photo of her hiding her face, as if emotional.
Moments. They happen. Today was and is a moment. What does remission mean? I heard that word and have no idea how to react. Good news? YES. Overwhelming. YES. Now more waiting. As every single one of my fellow cancer family knows, the next five years is crucial. Reoccurrences happen all the time. Many of you have shared that very story with me. So with a heart that is certainly lighter, I wait. In the meantime, decisions. Reconstruction which is several surgeries. Decision on taking a pill for the next five years that comes with its own set of problems and side effects. I am blessed, I know that. But for now…. remission. I'm going to just breathe. #cancerslayer
The actress is feeling overwhelmed at the news that she’s one step closer to being cancer free; her “heart is certainly lighter,” but at the same time Shannen knows this doesn’t mean she’s no longer out of the woods.
Cancer can, and does, come back sometimes.
To know what remission means for Shannen Doherty, one has to know a few of the specifics regarding her battle with cancer. We know her breast cancer was also present in her lymph nodes, and in the late summer of 2016, she confessed to Entertainment Tonight that it may have spread even farther than that.
According to BreastCancer.org, “lymph node involvement has a strong influence on prognosis.” There are various other things that can impact rate of recurrence, though they are more technical and/or personal things known only to Doherty and the medical personnel who treat her.
Shannen has documented her breast cancer journey from almost the moment she found out she was afflicted, sharing the ups and downs of a disease that has plagued, and tragically killed, so many.
When she decided to shave all her hair off instead of waiting for chemo to cause it to fall out, she shared photos of the experience. Doherty shed some tears, naturally, but managed some smiles for the camera as well.
The actress was joined by her mother and close friends to support her during the ordeal.
Doherty chronicled some of her doctor, chemo, and radiation visits for her Instagram following, which, according to her posts, has accumulated a lot of cancer surviviors as well as people who, like Shannen, are busy fighting it.
Next on deck for Shannen to tackle is the question of if she’ll pursue reconstruction soon or not. According to her, reconstruction would involve more than one operation. There is also a medication that is on Doherty’s mind, which she’s not sure she should devote the next five years to.
The 46-year-old former Beverly Hills, 90210 star touches on the fact that the next five years are important. Why five years? Because once five years have gone by since initial diagnosis without the cancer returning, you’re considered to be in pretty good shape. However, cancer can come back even after five years, and that’s why, according to WebMD, many doctors are hesitant to tell their patients they’re “cancer-free” or “cured” once they reach the five year mark.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer survival rate depends largely on the cancer stage at time of diagnosis, which is something Doherty has never shared. Even so, based on what she has shared, it’s more likely she was diagnosed with stage 2 or stage 3 breast cancer rather than stage 1 or stage 4 during the spring of 2016.
Obviously, those afflicted with stage 2 breast cancer have a better chance of survival than those who are diagnosed with stage 3. There is a large percentage gap between these two stages; 93 percent of stage 2 cancer victims survive, and 72 percent of those with stage 3 breast cancer survive.
It’s noted that these numbers are relative, as every woman’s body reacts differently to cancer and cancer treatment. There are also a variety of other factors to consider, thus although cancer stage is important in determining odds of survival, it’s not the only aspect to focus on.
#fbf to this morning. Oct7,2016… not that long ago. Last day of chemo. Exhausted. Now that I'm done with chemo and radiation, the waiting game is here. Waiting for test. Waiting to see if I'm clear or not. Waiting for reconstruction. Waiting. I think when one gets cancer, they are always waiting to a certain extent. To those who know… I'm waiting with you. #cancerslayer ????
The news of remission is extremely positive, but Shannen Doherty knows it’s also another step in her battle with the breast cancer that has so changed her life.
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