Shannen Doherty, probably best-known for her portrayal of the character Brenda Walsh in the television series "Beverly Hills 90210," announced in August 2015 that she has breast cancer.
Because of the hair loss commonly associated with chemotherapy and radiation, Doherty, like many cancer patients, decided to shave her head instead of letting her hair fall out a bit at a time.
As part of keeping her fans updated on social media, on July 19, the 45-year-old actress shaved her head and documented the process on Instagram, reported the Daily Mail.
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In an appearance on "The Dr. Oz Show" earlier in 2016, she explained that she can no longer have children because of the treatment she is undergoing.
She also said she will undergo surgery soon, but on the advice of her oncologist, she is waiting to see if the tumor in her breast shrinks before proceeding with the operation.
In her interview with Dr. Mehmet Oz, she expressed a philosophical attitude towards having a mastectomy. “They're just breasts,” she said. “In the grand scheme of things, I would rather be alive and I would rather grow old with my husband.”
Doherty delayed visiting the doctor after discovering the lump in her breast, because she had a lapse in her health insurance coverage. She is now urging women to act promptly if they detect any breast abnormality.
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The website Breast Cancer Care lists the following signs and symptoms of breast cancer which every woman should be aware of:
- A change in size or shape of the breast
- Redness or a rash on the skin and/or around the nipple
- Discharge that comes from the nipple without squeezing
- A swelling in your armpit or around your collarbone
- A lump or thickening that feels different from the rest of the breast tissue
- A change in skin texture, such as puckering or dimpling, similar to orange skin
- Your nipple becoming inverted (pulled in) or changing its position or shape
- Constant pain in your breast or armpit
As Doherty explained: “You have no idea what that extra time might have afforded you. Mine for instance spread to a lymph node or two.” Had she acted sooner, she said, “It might not have spread.”