Hollywood actress Marcia Cross has spoken out about her battle with anal cancer in a bid to break the stigma surrounding the disease by sharing her story.
It turns out her 2017 cancer diagnosis may be linked to the throat cancer her husband, Tom Mahoney, was diagnosed with in 2009, which recurred again almost a decade later.
The Desperate Housewives star opened up in an interview with CBS This Morning on Wednesday, revealing that doctors only began to suspect that both their cancers came from the same type of human papillomavirus (HPV) after her anal cancer diagnosis.
The 57-year-old star is now speaking up to raise awareness of HPV prevention, and to squash the stigma surrounding the disease.
"I know there are people who are ashamed. You have cancer! You have to then also feel ashamed? Like you did something bad, you know, because it took up residence in your anus? I mean, come on, really. There's enough on your plate," Cross told CBS This Morning.
Marcia says she decided to speak openly about her experience so others will hopefully be less embarrassed about the disease and get a rectal exam, which is how she learned of her cancer.
“I was so not thinking anything was wrong because I didn’t have any symptoms, and she gave me an exam and came around and said, ‘Well, I just want you to know, whatever it is it’s curable.’ It was like — what?! What are you talking about?” she recalled.
A year and a half after her diagnosis Marcia is thankfully now "doing great" which is why the star is so keen to break the stigma surrounding anal cancer, and push awareness of prevention of HPV through vaccination.
The actress told CBS she planned to vaccinate her 12-year-old twin daughters Eden and Savannah against HPV later this month.