Marcia Cross Reveals Her Anal Cancer Was Likely Caused By Same HPV Strain As Husband’s Throat Cancer

brittany.rae 6 Jun 2019

Former Desperate Housewives actress Marcia Cross was diagnosed with anal cancer.

She has been incredibly open about her journey to fight a notoriously private disease, and now she's working to spread awareness about her cancer's possible cause.

A routine medical exam turned out to be much more than that in 2018.

Instagram | @reallymarcia

During an appointment with her gynecologist for what she thought was a normal exam, her doctor discovered a mass.

Her rectal exam revealed that a cancerous mass was present on her anus.

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She had no clue the mass was there.

Instagram | @reallymarcia

"I was so not thinking anything was wrong, because I didn't have any symptoms," She said.

Thankfully, her doctor had some reassuring news for her.

"She gave me an exam and came around and said, 'Well, I just want you to know, whatever it is, it’s curable.'"

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She began treatment immediately.

Instagram | @reallymarcia

She then underwent radiation and chemotherapy.

In a series of Instagram posts, she shared what the experience was like to battle cancer.

By the time she posted, she was 8 months post treatment!

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Sharing with the world helped her immensely.

Instagram | @reallymarcia

After posting a picture of herself post-hair loss, she made sure to clarify to her followers that she was well.

She also felt amazing having finally shared what she had been going through, and wrote a note to post to Instagram to say the same.

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Heartbreakingly, this was not her family's first bout with cancer.

Instagram | @reallymarcia

But thankfully, the news is still good!

Her husband, Tom Mahoney, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009. He is now in remission as well, which makes them a very lucky family indeed.

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Turns out, their cancers may be related.

CBS This Morning

Now that she's well, Marcia chose to sit down with CBS News and share everything about her experience with anal cancer—and how it may relate to her husband's throat cancer.

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She reached out to CBS to raise awareness.

CBS This Morning

She has a frank, light-hearted approach to the subject of anal cancer:

"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?"

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The embarrassment of her diagnosis was hard for her to handle at first.

CBS This Morning

But now? She's totally fine with saying what her cancer is, and she's happy to repeat it.

"Even for me, it took a while. Anus, anus, anus! Ha. You just have to get used to it."

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So, what does this have to do with her husband?

CBS This Morning

The common denominator is HPV, or human papilloma virus.

HPV was the likely culprit of her husband's throat cancer in 2009, and now it looks like it could have been the cause of her anal cancer, as well.

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HPV can spread a number of ways.

CBS This Morning

Get your heads out of the gutter!

First of all, HPV can be responsible for anal, cervix, genitals, and throat cancers.

And while it can spread through sex, it can also just spread through skin-to-skin contact.

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And there's a way to prevent it.

CBS This Morning

Through good 'ol vaccination.

Now that Marcia knows that she and her husband's cancers may not only be related, but could have been caused by HPV, she plans on getting her twin daughters their HPV shots.

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Age 12 is the age to start HPV immunizations.

CBS This Morning

Marcia said, "My girls don't know it, but they're up for their first shot at the end of the school year. They're 12."

Her twin daughters were only two when their family went through its first cancer scare.

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For Marcia, it is important to save her girls from what she went through.

CBS This Morning

Though she had a really good support system behind her when she went through treatment!

"What I had was a bevy of girlfriends … I called them my 'anal angels.'"

Her sense of humor is incredible.

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Marcia is also feeling a lot better.

CBS This Morning

And she's far more in tune to her own bathroom habits.

"I don't think I'll ever take it for granted. I'm the girl who goes to the bathroom now and I go 'Yes! It's great what my body can do! I'm so grateful."

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Information on HPV can be found through the CDC.

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They recommend that children from ages 11-12 be vaccinated against HPV.

With two doses of the vaccine, children can be spared cancer scares that may face anyone older than they are.

Stay safe, everyone!

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