Even as she struggles with late-stage breast cancer diagnosis, Shannen Doherty's long list of acting credits continues to grow — and that's exactly the way she wants it.
"A lot of people who get diagnosed with Stage 4, they sort of get written off," Doherty said Monday in an interview that aired on Good Morning America. "It's assumed that they cannot work or they can't work at their full capacity, and that is not true. That is something that I would really like for people to stop assuming and give us a chance to prove them wrong."
In the case of Doherty, not only has she continued to work since her 2015 diagnosis and her subsequent announcement that the cancer had returned and advanced, but she finds her work "more fulfilling" than ever. Even as she undergoes the "first protocol" of treatment, she filmed a part in Lifetime's movie List of a Lifetime, which premieres Sunday, about a breast cancer patient who creates a list of things she wants to do before she dies. (The breast cancer patient is played by Arrow actress Kelly Hu.)
Doherty, it turns out, doesn't subscribe to the idea of a bucket list. She's too busy — yes, working — but also spending time with her loved ones.
"I like to say that those are goals. Because a bucket list almost feels like those things that you check off before you die, and I never want to operate like that," she said. "I just want to operate as, 'I don't have things to check off, because I'm going to keep fighting to stay alive.'"
She acknowledged that it wasn't easy.
"You really have to dig deep to face cancer, and in that you find all the stuff that you had hidden away," she said. "And it's beautiful things that you find. You find the vulnerability, you find your trust in people again, you find forgiveness."
Last month, while promoting List of a Lifetime, Doherty told reporters that she feels compelled to share her cancer experience with the world.
"I feel like I have a responsibility in my more public life, which I separate from my acting life ... to talk about cancer and perhaps educate people more," Doherty said, "and let people know that people with Stage 4 are very much alive and very active."
List of a Lifetime premieres Sunday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.