Shannen Doherty reveals what she initially believed caused her 2015 cancer diagnosis

Shannen Doherty is opening up about her desire to have children and how she believed her 2015 cancer diagnosis was related to IVF treatments she underwent.

“I believed that the reason why I got cancer was because I did IVF,” she admitted. “I met my husband at the time later in years and a multitude of things happened, and so when it was time to have that decision, we needed IVF and I did a bunch of rounds of it.” 

Doherty, 52, shared her thoughts on the subject during the January 1 episode of her  Let’s Be Clear with Shannen Doherty podcast.

Speaking with her oncologist, Dr. Lawrence Piro, Doherty remembered when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She believed it was the result of IVF treatments she went through with ex-husband Kurt Iswarienko.

“A lot of other women that I knew that did IVF that ended up getting breast cancer as well, sort of the numbers all started stacking up in my head,” she explained. “If you sort of have a cell that’s a little wonky and that’s sitting on the edge of maybe turning, spreading cancer — blah, blah, blah — that all the hormones that you’re pumping into your body from IVF are only going to up that chance. That was at least my thinking.” 

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 05: (EXLCUSIVE COVERAGE) Actress Shannen Doherty speaks on stage at American Cancer Society’s Giants of Science Los Angeles Gala on November 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)

Her belief led her to decline a breast cancer drug after she went into remission in 2017.

“I don’t want to say that I made a very uninformed decision, I’m a researcher, I’m hardcore,” she said. “My decision was, at the time, based on sort of the facts that I knew, that I had investigated, and you in fact did keep on encouraging me to take the Tamoxifen and I was like, ‘Absolutely not.'” 

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Even though Doherty had begun menopause by the time she entered remission and she wasn’t going to start IVF again, she still “desperately” wanted a baby.

“Not only did I want a child for myself, but I wanted it for my husband, I wanted it for our marriage, I wanted him to have that part of himself fulfilled as well.”

Three years after announcing her cancer had gone into remission, Doherty revealed the cancer had returned, and this time it was stage four. In 2023, the actress shared the cancer had spread to her brain and bones.


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