Shannen Doherty Recalls “Overwhelming” Fear Before Surgery to Remove Tumor in Her Head

Shannen Doherty—who recently shared that her cancer has spread to her brain—is opening up about the "overwhelming" fear she experienced having to undergo surgery to remove a tumor in her head.

By Kisha Forde Jun 15, 2023 1:44 PMTags
Watch: Shannen Doherty's Heartbreaking Update on Cancer Battle

Shannen Doherty is reflecting on a heartbreaking moment amid her battle with cancer.

The Charmed alum—who shared her stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis in 2020—recently opened up about the emotional process she endured while having to undergo surgery earlier this year.

"January 16, 2023," she wrote alongside a June 13 Instagram video of herself in the hospital. "Surgery. I had a tumor in my head they wanted to remove and also biopsy. I am clearly trying to be brave, but I am petrified. The fear was overwhelming to me."

That fear also extended to those closest to Doherty.

"Scared of all possible bad outcomes, worried about leaving my mom and how that would impact her," she noted. "Worried that I would come out of surgery not me anymore. This is what cancer can look like."

The glimpse into Doherty's journey comes a little more than a week after she shared her cancer had metastasized to her brain, explaining that doctors found the development during scans.

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"Yesterdays video was showing the process of getting fitted for the mask which you wear during radiation to your brain, the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum wrote in a June 6 Instagram post. "January 12, the first round of radiation took place."

Noting that her distress was "obvious," Doherty went on to thank the team of doctors that have helped her along the way.

"But that fear…. The turmoil….. the timing of it all," she continued. "This is what cancer can look like."


Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer began in 2015 and went into remission two years later. However, in February 2020, the 52-year-old shared that her cancer returned the year before and was categorized as stage 4.

"It's a hard one because I thought when I finally do come out I would have worked 16 hours a day and people can look at that and say, 'Oh my God, she can work and other people with stage 4 can work,'" Doherty told ABC News at the time. "Our life doesn't end the minute we get that diagnosis. We still have some living to do."

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