Nearly a decade after “Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross’ husband, Tom Mahoney, battled throat cancer, she was diagnosed with anal cancer.
Now, the 57-year-old says she was told by doctors that it was likely the same sexually transmitted disease that caused both of their illnesses, CBS News reports.
Cross, who confirmed in September 2018 that she beat her anal cancer, said that both were likely caused by a particular strain of human papillomavirus (HPV).
The actress learned of the connection after undergoing treatment for the disease.
She now intends to get her two daughters, 12-year-old twins Savannah and Eden, the HPV vaccine in the coming weeks, People reports. Cross says she hopes to promote early prevention.
The television star first learned of her cancer a year-and-a-half ago after a routine exam at the gynecologist. That’s when she started a “gnarly” three-month battle against the illness.
Now, she says that’s she’s in remission and no longer ashamed to open up about having anal cancer. She said:
“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.”
“Even for me, it took a while. Anus, anus, anus! Ha. You just have to get used to it.”
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 79 million Americans have HPV. The sexually transmitted disease can cause cancer and currently has no cure.
The best form of prevention is vaccination, which should be given to children aged 11 or 12. Although, men can receive the vaccine up to age 21 and women up to age 26.
Thankfully, Cross said she’s feeling “back to normal” after battling anal cancer, though she says it’s a “new normal”:
“I don’t think I’ll ever take it for granted. I’m the girl who goes to the bathroom now and I go ‘Yes! It’s great what my body can do! I’m so grateful.'”