“It’s not a job that anyone really wants,” the Desperate Housewives alum told Us Weekly at the Farrah Fawcett Foundation’s Tex-Mex Fiesta event in Beverly Hills on Friday, September 6. “It’s not particularly glamorous to be the face of anal cancer.”
However, the 57-year-old actor considers herself up for the challenge of educating the public and destigmatizing the disease. She even has a newfound appreciation for her rectum — and wants others to appreciate theirs too. “I want to tell you that I now love and cherish my anus and you should all love and cherish yours,” said Cross. We should all stop being embarrassed about it because we’re gifted with one beautiful anus it does an amazing job.”
On September 15, 2018, Cross announced on Instagram that she had beat cancer. Three days later, she shared that her battle had been with anal cancer. “I am ecstatically alive and what interests me post cancer is #AUTHENTICY. #VULNERABILITY. #TRANSPARENCY. And of course #LOVE,” she wrote. “On that note, if you were wondering, I had #analcancer. I know, right?!”
Now, the star is staying true to her word by continuing her work to destigmatize the affliction, which, in her case, may have been linked to her husband’s throat cancer. “Think about [your anus] every time it works for you and there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” she continued at the event for Fawcett, who died of anal cancer in 2009. “Educate yourselves on the HPV virus — that’s really the bigger calling to me, because that causes 5 percent of our cancers and we all need to be up to speed on all of that.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, anal cancer, though relatively uncommon, “is closely related to a sexually transmitted infection called human papillomavirus (HPV). Evidence of HPV is detected in the majority of anal cancers.” One way to help prevention, says the organization, is to vaccinate against HPV: “A vaccine to protect against HPV infection is available. It’s recommended for adolescents, including both boys and girls, but may be given to adults, too.”
Cross revealed in June that her 12-year-old twin daughters with husband Tom Mahoney, were set to receive the vaccination that month.
With reporting by Amanda Champagne
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