Shannen Doherty opens up about breast cancer treatment

Shannen Doherty breaks down on 'The Dr. Oz Show.'. The Dr. Oz Show

Shannen Doherty revealed to the world that she was battling breast cancer in August 2015, and now she’s opening up about the harsh realities of treatment.

The former 90210 star was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer but could have been diagnosed earlier had her “negligent” management firm not forgotten to pay her premiums, leaving her with no health insurance.

Doherty, 44, launched a lawsuit against her management firm, Tanner Mainstain, alleging that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2015, with the cancer spreading during a time she was uninsured. In court documents filed today, Doherty insists it was the firm’s job to ensure “timely payment” of her medical insurance premiums through her membership in the Screen Actors Guild.

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After she was effectively fired by the management firm, Doherty initially had no idea she had no health insurance. Once she discovered the premiums hadn’t been paid, she re-enrolled with SAG insurance; only then did she begin to see doctors — which is when she received her cancer diagnosis.

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Doherty is claiming that had she been insured, she would have been able to receive the diagnosis earlier than she did, and potentially be able to treat it in a far less drastic manner than she’s facing now.

Appearing on The Dr. Oz Show, Doherty said she delayed going to a doctor even though she felt a lump in her breast because her health insurance wasn’t being paid. She now regrets delaying seeking treatment.

“You have no idea what that extra time might have afforded you,” said Doherty to Dr. Oz. “Mine, for instance, spread to a lymph node or two. It might not have spread… the most important thing is catching it as early as humanly possible.”

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Doherty revealed that the mass is still in her breast and she has not had surgery yet; her oncologist wants to try a medicinal regimen that could potentially shrink the tumour before attempting surgery.

The actress also disclosed another side effect of the cancer treatment: it impacts her ability to conceive.

“I’m 44 and my husband and I wanted children,” said Doherty, adding that she and her husband, Kurt Iswarienko, are now considering adoption.

“For us, it has brought us closer together. It’s one of those times you get to test your mettle as a married couple,” said Iswarienko.

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With files from ET Canada

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