Marcia Cross is opening up again about her anal cancer, almost a year and a half after her diagnosis, and she wants to put an end to the shame around the disease.
The former “Desperate Housewives” star talked to People magazine about her “gnarly” treatment and the advice she has to share.
Cross, 57, revealed that she was diagnosed with anal cancer in November 2017 during her annual gynecologist visit, and after two biopsies confirmed the disease, a colon and rectal surgeon put her on six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. The actress went public with her diagnosis in a series of Instagram posts last year.
“Surgery wasn’t recommended, which was a relief. You want to preserve sphincter muscles if possible,” she told People. “Having woken up to its importance, I am now a big fan of the anus!”
Rather than sinking into total sadness, Cross said she tried to find the humor in her situation.
Cross has been in remission for almost a year, and she said she’s thankful that her body is back to her version of normal.
“Every time I go to the bathroom, I think, ‘That’s awesome! Thank you, body,’” she said.
But the actress understands that not everyone is comfortable talking about the disease.
“I want to help put a dent in the stigma around anal cancer,” she told People. “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.”
Her advice for people about recognizing potential symptoms is that “if something doesn’t feel right, listen to your body and talk to your doctor.”
“Don’t let it go. It’s a very curable cancer if caught early, which mine was,” Cross said.
In September, Cross reflected on her struggle on Instagram: “Hard journey, but I am HEALTHY, happy, and more present and grateful than ever.”
Anika Reed, USA TODAY
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