Shannen Doherty has inspired millions as she has been bravely fighting invasive breast cancer and sharing her battle with the world. The former Charmed has been posting inspirational updates on her difficult cancer journey to Instagram and Twitter. Now as fans are keeping up with her cancer battle, many are wondering what her chances are for beating the devastating disease.
Shannen revealed that she had breast cancer in February of 2015, then later revealed that she had a mastectomy in May of 2016, according to Metro. Recently the 46-year-old star, who has been married to photographer Kurt Iswarienko since 2011, inspired the world again when she posted a picture of herself and her radiation machine to Instagram, writing that she had named the machine “Maggie” and had a “love hate relationship” with it.
This is Maggie. I've seen Maggie five days a week for what seems like forever. We have a love hate relationship. I love her because she's part of the life saving treatment I'm receiving. It's astounding how far we have come with technology. One day, Maggie will be retired and the cure will be found. Things like immunotherapy are the future but for now.... it's me and Maggie. I'm seeing her twice tomorrow so that I can wrap this phase up faster. Goodnight sweet Maggie. See ya tomorrow. #cancerslayer
A photo posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on
“I love her because she’s part of the life saving treatment I’m receiving,” Ms. Doherty wrote. “It’s astounding how far we have come with technology.”
Shannen said that she knew someday Maggie will be retired and better treatments will be available, but that the radiation machine is one of her best chances for now.
I’m seeing her twice tomorrow so that I can wrap this phase up faster. Goodnight sweet Maggie. See ya tomorrow.
Shannen has been open about how advanced her cancer is and what she and her medical team are doing to fight it. She has reported that she has undergone a mastectomy one one side, plus chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
“I had breast cancer that spread to the lymph nodes, and from one of my surgeries we discovered that some of the cancer cells might have actually gone out of the lymph nodes,” Doherty told Entertainment Tonight. “So for that reason, we are doing chemo, and then after chemo, I’ll do radiation.”
#fbf to a very short bit ago. Day after #chemoday isn't always so great. Sometimes one isn't able to dance, or eat or even to think about the next day. Sometimes it just feels like you aren't going to make it. That passes. Sometimes the next day or 2 days later or 6 but it passes and movement is possible. Hope is possible. Possibility is possible. To my cancer family and everyone suffering.... stay courageous. Stay strong. Stay positive. #wegotthis. #fightlikeagirl
A photo posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on
The former Playboy cover girl said that the days immediately after chemo treatments were the hardest.
Sometimes one isn’t able to dance, or eat or even to think about the next day. Sometimes it just feels like you aren’t going to make it. That passes. Sometimes the next day or two days later or six but it passes and movement is possible. Hope is possible.
Shannen also said that she is focusing on eating healthy foods. Being diagnosed with cancer pushed her to take better care of her body, Daily Mail reported.
“I am continuing to eat right, exercise and stay very positive about my life,” she said.
Shannen is even keeping up with her exercise routine as much as possible even while undergoing her painful and exhausting cancer treatments.
To combat my grumpiness and fatigue from #radiation , I #MOVE. Sometimes it's not graceful but it's always healing both physically and mentally. It's so easy to get depressed in the battle against cancer but everyday I wake up and remind myself to be happy to be alive, relatively healthy and able to move. I'm so thankful for this life I have. Thank you #Neda @jammalibu for working with me and making me leave for my day with a smile. #cancerslayer
A video posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on
In light of all of these factors, what are Shannen’s odds of beating the cancer for good?
Luckily, survival rates for breast cancer continue to rise. A person’s chances of beating breast cancer depend on a number of factors, though, such as her age, race, stage of cancer and even where she lives. White women and black women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than women who are Asian, Native American or Hispanic, but black women have higher chances of dying of the devastating disease.
Shannen has not revealed what stage her breast cancer is in, which best determines your odds of beating it. According to the American Cancer Society, there are four stages of breast cancer. Stage I breast cancers involve small tumors that have not spread to lymph nodes or other areas. Stage II cancers are larger and/or have spread to a few lymph nodes or surrounding areas. Stage III cancers are larger and may be growing into area tissues, or the cancer has spread to many lymph nodes. Stage IV breast cancers have spread beyond the breasts and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body such as the bones, brain, liver, lungs, and other organs.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation says that women with early stage invasive breast cancers (stages I and II) have a better chances of survival than those with later stage cancers (stages III and IV) and that women whose cancer has not spread beyond the breast have better chances than those whose cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Women with metastatic breast cancer (stage IV) have the highest rates of dying of the disease.
From what Shannen has said publicly, it appears that her cancer is likely stage III. Women with stage I breast cancer have a 99 percent chance of surviving five years after diagnosis, while women with metastatic breast cancer (stage IV) have a 26 percent five-year survival rate.
Women with regionalized breast cancer like Shannen’s, where cancer cells have spread beyond the breasts but only in a limited amount, have an encouraging 84 percent chance of surviving their cancer.
Breast cancer survivor PJ Hamel wrote on Health Central that she feels Doherty’s chances of beating her cancer are very good.
Coincidentally, this is very close to my own cancer diagnosis and experience: invasive cancer, mastectomy, spread to lymph nodes, spread out of one lymph node, chemo, radiation. And guess what? I’m a 15-year survivor.
Hamel says that “given the facts as she’s shared them, there’s every probability Doherty will survive.”
Hopefully, Shannen is also encouraged knowing that millions of people have been inspired by her battle and are rooting for her to make it.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]