“Desperate Housewives” star Marcia Cross is opening up to “Extra” about her health battle.
The actress, who was honored last Friday at the Farrah Fawcett Foundation’s Tex-Mex Fiesta in Beverly Hills, told “Extra’s” Jennifer Lahmers about why she decided to go public with her anal cancer diagnosis.
“If it were any other cancer I would have moved on, because there’s people talking about every kind of cancer there is. You don’t hear much about [anal cancer]… It’s not a fun cancer. Nobody wants to claim it,” she said, adding, “I realized I needed to educate people on HPV and it takes more than one listening to, because it’s a little complicated.”
The actress had no symptoms before she was diagnosed, she shared. “I’m telling everyone to get rectal exams and go to their gynecologists, and [am] trying to inform the public about the HPV virus, which is essentially why I’m speaking out.”
She continued, “Most people don’t know about it. People who have it are ashamed. I don’t know why. I missed this boat, because in my generation they gave you a Pap smear, but they never said, ‘This is what we are testing for.’ The human papillomavirus causes 99 percent of cervical cancer and 5 percent of all cancers. Because my husband had throat cancer 10-plus years ago, and I have this, I feel like if there is a God, God put it in my path to tell people so I could help save lives and stop people from feeling ashamed.”
She added with a smile, “We all have an anus. I realized I dressed like one tonight. I’m now in awe of the anus. I think it’s amazing we take for granted we only get one. It’s beautiful and it’s the last taboo in our beautiful bodies.”
Cross added, “I have shame about other things. I’m messy or unorganized or whatever, but that one — it’s like, that’s my body and I didn’t do anything bad to get it. I just want to save other lives if I can and take off the stigma.”
The celebration marked 10 years since Farrah passed away. Her close friends were there to support the cause, including Alana Stewart, the foundation’s president. She sat down with Lahmers and talked about Farrah’s public battle with anal cancer and the documentary she released. “She hesitated at first, and then so many people wrote to Farrah and told her she was an inspiration that she decided she could help other people… She made a battle that most people would want to be very private… very public.”
Learn more at TheFarrahFawcettFoundation.org.