March 28 (UPI) — Marcia Cross hopes to end the “stigma” about anal cancer by speaking out about the disease.
The 57-year-old actress discussed her experience in an interview with People published Wednesday, nearly a year and a half after her diagnosis.
Cross told the magazine she’s encountered many survivors too ashamed to share their stories.
“I want to help put a dent in the stigma around anal cancer,” the star explained. “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,” she said. “I want that to stop.”
The Desperate Housewives alum was diagnosed with anal cancer in November 2017 and underwent three months of “gnarly” treatment, including six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy.
“Surgery wasn’t recommended, which was a relief. You want to preserve sphincter muscles if possible,” the actress said. “Having woken up to its importance, I am now a big fan of the anus!”
Cross’ treatment was successful and the actress has been in remission for nearly a year. She celebrated her 57th birthday Tuesday and thanked fans for their well-wishes on Twitter.
“OH MY GOODNESS!! Overwhelmed by your birthday tweets of LOVE!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! I AM SO HAPPY AND GRATEFUL!!” the star wrote.
Cross initially went public with her diagnosis in a series of Instagram posts in September.
“I am POST cancer. All good now. Hard journey, but I am HEALTHY, happy, and more present and grateful than ever,” the actress wrote.
“I am ecstatically alive and what interests me post cancer is #AUTHENTICITY. #VULNERABILITY. #TRANSPARENCY. And of course #LOVE. On that note, if you were wondering, I had #analcancer. I know, right?!” she added.
Cross is known for playing Bree Van de Kamp on the ABC series “Desperate Housewives.” She has since portrayed Claire Haas on “Quantico.”