When a TV star has stage IV

I don’t know why – well I guess I kind of do – but Shannon Doherty‘s recent announcement that her Breast Cancer has metastasized and she is now stage IV (for breast cancer that means terminal) has hit me emotionally.

I didn’t know her personally, but I was an avid fan of 90210 when I was younger. I think in part it is because she is my age. She was diagnosed with breast cancer as a young survivor (that is under 45) rather than the more typical celebrity with breast cancer that was a more typical post-menopausal age at diagnosis. Young breast cancer are more likely to be aggressive and metastasize, but I know that reality.

The think is, over the last couple of years I have lost some good friends to stage IV breast cancer. I know that it kills and that it kills young women in the prime of their lives. Mothers of young children.

And so, when I see it in the news, it hits home. It reminds me of the friends I have lost.

There is also this idea of parasocial relationships – that is something that is rather academic, but it is the idea that we feel like we ‘know’ someone because we watch them (on TV, read their blog, etc). We feel we know them, although they may not know us at all. I am in no way a ‘star’ watcher. I would not have seen or been aware of Shannon’s career had this not happened. I do remember when the announcement came out about her early stage diagnosis – I was acutely aware of breast cancer at that point because I was recovering from my treatments and I was dealing with the crazy anxiety that came with my diagnosis.

And so, I know why but also felt the need to write something about it. I know that whenever I hear of anyone being diagnosed stage 4, but especially those who are young – that it will hit me emotionally.

Feature image by Andy Wang on Unsplash.

  • Becky

One Comment

  • Thank you for your thoughtful post. I am 60 and was lucky enough to have had a tiny, non-aggressive stage l cancer 2 and 1/2 years ago, but I, too, closely read articles about celebs my age. I also check the obituaries posted in the New York Times. I only have one friend who has had cancer, so it is my way of feeling that cancer and death are a part of life, and that others are facing the same challenges. And, somehow, it makes me feel less alone.

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