Last September, “Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross revealed that she beat a disease that’s often not talked about enough — anal cancer.
The 57-year-old confirmed she suffered from the illness after she was already finished with treatment and was trying to deal with hair loss.
Cross shared a photo of her short hair on Instagram, prompting fans to flood her with questions.
Cross later posted a message on Instagram clarifying her diagnosis and that she was “post cancer.” The actress wrote:
On that note, if you were wondering, I had #analcancer. I know, right?!
Now, the star is speaking out about anal cancer. She thinks that those who suffer from the illness, particularly women, are sometimes afraid to reveal their diagnosis due to stigma.
Cross told People:
“I want to help put a dent in the stigma around anal cancer.
I’ve read a lot of cancer-survivor stories, and many people, women especially, were too embarrassed to say what kind of cancer they had. There is a lot of shame about it. I want that to stop.”
Cross was diagnosed with anal cancer after her gynecologist noticed something was off during a routine exam and sent her to a specialist.
She battled the illness for three months, which she described as “gnarly.” The actress said:
“If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your body and talk to your doctor.”
Cross said bleeding, lumps, and pain can all be signs of anal cancer. She added:
“If you or a loved one are diagnosed, the Anal Cancer Foundation is an amazing resource. And one I turned to often.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors for anal cancer include older age, having many sex partners, smoking, HPV, and the use of immunosuppressive drugs.
Cross said not to “let it go”:
“It’s a very curable cancer if caught early, which mine was.”