Marcia Cross hopes speaking out will save others

Cross' cancer diagnosis a result of HPV

By Chloe Melas, CNN
Kevin Mazur/American Broadcasting Companies Inc via Getty Images

Actress Marcia Cross

(CNN) - Marcia Cross wants to continue to make it her mission to discuss her battle with anal cancer.

The actress tells CNN she cares deeply about being able to "educate the public about HPV."

Cross, 57, revealed her diagnosis in a series of Instagram photos in 2018. She appeared on "CBS This Morning" last week to reveal that her type of cancer was due to the human papillomavirus, known as HPV.

"In spite of the optics, I care deeply about saving lives," Cross wrote in an email to CNN. "To that end, the important thing to do is to educate the public about HPV. It is so common that nearly every person who is sexually active will get it at some point in their lifetime. HPV can cause cervical and other cancers... It can take years, even decades to develop."

Cross' husband, Tom Mahoney was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009 and doctors suspect that Cross' cancer and Mahoney's came from the same type of HPV.

Cross has appeared on "One Life to Live," "Knots Landing" and "Melrose Place." She is best known for her role as Bree Van de Kamp on "Desperate Housewives" from 2004 to 2012, for which she was nominated for three Golden Globes and an Emmy.

The actress has said that her cancer was discovered as part of a routine exam by her gynecologist. Cross went through both radiation and chemotherapy and is now in remission.

"It is difficult to talk about but so important and we just need to push through," she wrote.

Cross, who has twin daughters with Mahoney, told CNN that every day with her family is a blessing.

"And as I sat at my twin daughters' graduation yesterday, I was so grateful to be alive and well and thought that if I could give that gift to another person it would all be worth it."

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