Actress Marcia Cross Discusses Her Anal Cancer Diagnosis

Hoping to lessen stigma and spur conversations between patients and health care professionals, Desperate Housewives actor Marcia Cross recently told CBS This Morning she was diagnosed with anal cancer about a year and a half ago.

“High risk” types of HPV are associated with a number of cancers beyond cervical and include cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, and throat. During the interview Ms. Cross revealed her husband battled throat cancer several years ago and her doctor believes their diagnoses are likely related.

When asked in the CBS This Morning interview why she’s speaking out she said “I know that there are people that are ashamed. You have cancer! Do you then have also to feel ashamed like you did something bad, you know, because it took up residence in your anus? Come on, really, there’s enough on your plate.”

Beyond addressing the shame and reluctance that keeps us from talking about anal diseases, Cross said she’s speaking out to encourage parents to have their kids vaccinated against HPV. As for her own daughters she says “My girls don’t know it but they’re up for their first shot at the end of the school year!”

Resources and Related Pages

More to explore

What do you know about HPV and men? Take the quiz and find out

HPV and Men—Take the Quiz

HPV (a.k.a. human papillomavirus) is the name of a group of viruses that infect the skin. In women, HPV can lead to cervical cancer (and other types of cancer as well), but what about in men? Think you know about HPV and men? Take the quiz and find out.

Runneth Over

Runneth Over—An Online Theater Presentation

ASHA is thrilled to partner with Elevate Theatre Company on this online theater event, Runneth Over. Runneth Over by Sabrina Jacob Washburn. explores themes of women’s sexual health, cervical cancer prevention, HPV and HPV vaccinations.

An image of HPV

HPV-Related Cancer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 36,500 HPV-associated cancers occur in the U.S each year.