Actress Shannen Doherty has said her cancer diagnosis has changed her life for the better and made her a ‘better human being’.

The ‘Charmed’ star was being honoured by the American Cancer Society on Saturday night, with her friend Sarah Michelle Gellar presenting her with their Courage Award.

A photo posted by ShannenDoherty (@theshando) on

Welcoming Doherty to the stage Gellar said: “She has always been a courageous person but over the last year she has become a one-woman army.”

"Fearless yet full of heart, crushing cancer like a slayer - takes one to know one."

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"In an age when celebrities are afraid to walk out of the house without make up, Shannen is proudly displaying her shaved head, telling the world if this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone,” Gellar added.

Accepting the award, Doherty thanked her mother Rosa and husband Kurt Iswarienko for their support, as well as Gellar and friend, comedienne Chelsea Handler.

"I'm feeling ridiculously lucky and very blessed. Cancer has changed my life for the better,” Doherty later said. "It's made me a better human being. It stripped away all of the walls and the barriers.”

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"It exposes any lie in your life whatsoever. It exposes who's not really truly there for you and who really is there for you.

“It's this brilliant thing where you just look around and think, 'Oh my God, this person is amazing, they're showing up for me in a way I never expected.’"