Marcia Cross was diagnosed with anal cancer eight years after her husband, Tom Mahoney, was diagnosed with throat cancer — a doubly unfortunate situation that might not have been pure coincidence.
Appearing on Wednesday’s episode of “CBS This Morning” to discuss her 2017 diagnosis, the 57-year-old “Desperate Housewives” actress revealed doctors are now suspecting that her cancer and her husband’s cancer came from the same strain of human papillomavirus, known as HPV, which can be transferred sexually or via skin-to-skin contact.
Now that Cross and Mahoney are both in remission, the actress is on a mission to destigmatize anal cancer and bring awareness to early prevention.
“I was so not thinking anything was wrong because I didn’t have any symptoms, and [my gynecologist] gave me a [routine digital rectum] exam and came around and said, ‘Well, I just want you to know, whatever it is, it’s curable,’” Cross told CBS News medical contributor Dr. Jon LaPook. “You’re just like, ‘What? What are you talking about?’”
When asked why she felt the need to speak now about her fight with the disease, Cross said, “I know that there are people who are ashamed. You have cancer. Do you have to then also feel ashamed? Like you did something bad because it took up residence in your anus? I mean, c’mon. Really? There’s enough on your plate.”