It’s official: Shannen Doherty’s breast cancer is in remission, two years after she announced she was diagnosed with the disease. And while this is good news to the Beverly Hills, 90210 actress, her family, and her fans, she is guardedly optimistic, knowing that remission doesn’t always mean the cancer is completely gone.
On Friday evening, the 46-year-old Doherty took to Instagram to confirm that she is in remission, posting a photo of herself wearing a cap on her short hair, seemingly overcome by emotion as she sat on the floor.
“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“
— E! News (@enews) April 29, 2017
Prior to Shannen Doherty’s remission announcement, the actress was spotted with her husband, Kurt Iswarienko, on Wednesday. According to the Daily Mail, she and her husband were seen eating lunch at a Malibu restaurant and looking optimistic and happy one month after her chemotherapy ended. She had also shared a photo on Instagram earlier on Friday as she prepared for a PET scan to determine the status of her breast cancer.
Given the tone that Doherty used in her Instagram post, she appears aware of the fact that remission is a major improvement, but not exactly the end of one’s cancer treatment. According to WebMD, partial remission means that a person still has cancer, but their tumor has simply shrunk in size. This could suggest a break from treatment, provided the cancer doesn’t start growing again. Complete remission, on the other hand, is also known as NED (no evidence of disease), and while it means that one no longer is showing any signs of cancer, it’s not a guarantee that the person is cured.
Shannen Doherty did not specify the remission her breast cancer is in, but she referenced a known cancer fact in her Instagram post – if cancer cells return, this usually takes place within the first five years of initial diagnosis and treatment.
An article from Medical News Today details how breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, especially in women. The disease takes up 16 percent of all female cancers and close to 23 percent of all invasive cancers in female patients, while about a fifth of all cancer deaths worldwide, regardless of the patient’s gender, are linked to breast cancer. The publication also notes that more than four-fifths of people diagnosed with the disease survive at least 10 years after diagnosis.
As the Inquisitr had noted earlier today, survival rates depend on the stage the cancer is in when diagnosed — she hasn’t mentioned any specifics on this matter, but Shannen Doherty’s breast cancer may have been at stage 2 or stage 3 at the time she was diagnosed in March of 2015, suggesting she may have a good-to-very-good five-year survival rate.
At this point in the game, it’s a very positive development for Shannen Doherty as she battles breast cancer — she’s in remission, and that’s definitely good news. Still, the battle isn’t technically over, and Shannen has acknowledged this, as she prepares to make the aforementioned medical decisions while hoping her cancer doesn’t come back.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]