“Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross has anal cancer and is not afraid to let the world know.
The award-winning actress appeared on a segment of “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday and talked openly about her battle with 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 News medical contributor Dr. Jon LaPook.
She said that during a visit to her gynecologist about a year and a-half ago, a routine digital rectal exam revealed she had a cancerous mass, which turned out to be anal cancer.
After completing two weeks of radiation and six weeks of chemotherapy, Cross reached out to LaPook to share her story in hopes to break down the taboo surrounding anal cancer.
"Even for me, it took a while,” she said about saying the word “anus.”
The Centers for Disease Control reported that human papilloma virus — or HPV — causes more than 90 percent of anal cancers. The same virus can also cause cancer of the cervix, genitals and throat and can spread from one person to another through sex or just by skin-to-skin contact.
Cross said her annual rectal exam saved her life.
“You can say, OK this is embarrassing, this is uncomfortable and by time you know it, it’s over. I mean lots of things in life are not fun. But you can bear it,” she said.
Cross, who played perfect homemaker Bree Van de Kamp on the hit ABC series, also revealed that her husband, Tom Mahoney, was diagnosed with throat cancer and began treatment in 2009 — as their twin daughters were turning 2 years old.
The former “Melrose Place” vixen said she didn't realize that the same type of HPV that triggered his throat cancer was the same that can also cause cancer in the anus.
An estimated 8,300 people will be diagnosed with anal cancer in 2019, according to the American Cancer Society.
The types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer can be prevented by using a vaccine.
As a parent, Cross is a “pro-vaxxer” and said her daughters teenage daughters are up for their first shot at the end of the school year.