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'Desperate Housewives' actress Marcia Cross says HPV caused her anal cancer, husband’s throat cancer

'Desperate Housewives' actress Marcia Cross says HPV caused her anal cancer, husband’s throat cancer

'Desperate Housewives' actress Marcia Cross says HPV caused her anal cancer, husband’s throat cancer
Photo Credit: Michael Kovac
Marcia Cross (L) and Tom Mahoney attend the 2017 Gersh Emmy Party presented by Tequila Don Julio 1942 on September 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

'Desperate Housewives' actress Marcia Cross says HPV caused her anal cancer, husband’s throat cancer

First it was her husband. Then it was herself

But actress Marcia Cross is determined it won’t be their daughters.

>> Read more trending news 

The “Desperate Housewives” star is speaking out about the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV. 

Cross’ husband, actor Tom Mahoney, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009, and Cross found out a year and a half ago she had anal cancer. 

But she’s hoping to prevent the same fate for their 12-year-old twins.

“My girls don’t know it, but they’re up for their first shot at the end of the school year,” the actress told “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday.

Related: HPV vaccine: What to know about human papillomavirus

That shot will likely be of the HPV vaccine Gardasil 9, which was previously recommended for ages 9-26 but was expanded in October 2018 to include ages 27-45. According to, Gardasil 9 is the only HPV vaccine available for use in the United States.

Cross said Wednesday that doctors suspect her and her husband’s cancers were caused by the same type of HPV. 

About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. About 14 million people become infected each year. HPV is so common that almost every person who is sexually active will get HPV at some time in their life if they don’t get the vaccine.

The CDC recommends all kids ages 11 or 12 get vaccinated, with catch-up vaccines for boys and men through age 21 and for girls and women through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

Related: One in nine American men infected with oral HPV, study says

HPV vaccine is also recommended for the following people, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger:

  • young men who have sex with men, including young men who identify as gay or bisexual or who intend to have sex with men through age 26;
  • young adults who are transgender through age 26; and
  • young adults with certain immunocompromising conditions (including HIV) through age 26.

There is currently no test to find out your HPV status. There is also no test to find the virus in the mouth or throat. That’s likely why Cross was exposed to it by her husband.

The actress said she had no clue a routine visit to her gynecologist was going to end with a cancer diagnosis.

"I was so not thinking anything was wrong because I didn't have any symptoms, and she gave me an exam and came around and said, 'Well, I just want you to know, whatever it is it's curable,'" she said. "It was like 'What? What are you talking about?'"

Related: HPV vaccination of adolescents increases; suburban, rural areas lag

Cross said she’s also speaking out about her anal cancer in order to destigmatize it. 

"I know that there are people who are ashamed," she told “CBS This Morning.” "You have cancer. Should you then also feel like ashamed like you did something bad because it took up residence in your anus? I mean, come on, really? There’s enough on your plate.”

Cross said she and Mahoney are both in remission.

Read More


  • Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya? If you’re Clint Eastwood, there is plenty to feel lucky about. As an actor and director, Eastwood has been a presence in American movies for six decades. Eastwood turned 90 on Sunday. Whether he was a lone drifter in spaghetti westerns or rogue cop Harry Callahan, Eastwood has always had a presence. Eastwood was born May 31, 1930, in San Franciso. He was raised in Oakland, and before becoming an established movie star he played Rowdy Yates in the television western, “Rawhide.” But it is on the big screen where Eastwood made a sudden impact. According to Rolling Stone, Pauline Kael described Eastwood as “six feet four of lean, tough saint, blue-eyed and shaggy-haired, with a rugged, creased, careworn face that occasionally breaks into a mischief-filled grin.' In keeping with Eastwood’s stoic persona, his birthday celebration was supposed to be low-key. “We’re just going to do a family thing -- very, very calm, very mellow,” his 34-year-old actor son Scott told “Access Hollywood.” “We’ll sneak a cake in there, definitely. He probably won’t like it.” Eastwood has won five Academy Awards, with two films that won both Best Picture and Directing -- Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004). His fifth Oscar was the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award in 1995. Here is a look at five of Eastwood’s more memorable films: “A Fistful of Dollars' (1964): The first of a trio of westerns shot in Italy, Italian director Sergio Leone was persuaded to used Eastwood despite coveting Henry Fonda, James Coburn or Charles Bronson for the role of the Man With No Name. Eastwood is eerily intimidating with his poncho, his intense cigar-chewing and his fast trigger finger. “Fistful” was followed by “For a Few Dollars More” in 1965 and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in 1966. The latter movie is considered the best of the trilogy, with Lee Van Cleef cast as the “Bad” and Eli Wallach playing an amoral “Ugly” character. You know who was “Good.' “Dirty Harry” (1971): Eastwood was defined by the macho, .44-magnum toting police inspector in San Francisco. His character was so memorable in this Don Siegel film that Eastwood reprised the Callahan character in four more films -- “Magnum Force (1973), “The Enforcer” (1976), “Sudden Impact” (1983) and :”The Dead Pool' (1988). In “Dirty Harry,” Eastwood hunts down a serial killer named Scorpio, and utters the famous line with a sneer: “You’ve got to ask yourself a question. ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” “Play Misty for Me” (1971): This marked Eastwood’s directorial debut, a film in which he plays a disc jockey in Northern California who picks up a woman at a bar (Jessica Walters). She is the same woman who calls the radio station where Eastwood works and requests the Errol Garner song, “Misty.” Far from being a macho character, Eastwood played a victim as the woman’s obsessive behavior nearly turns fatal. “Every Which Way But Loose” (1978): Rarely did anyone ever make a monkey out of Eastwood, but a beer-swilling orangutan named Clyde did just that in this comedy. Eastwood is able to punch out bad guys and deliver wise-cracking punchlines. “Right turn, Clyde” became a mantra for fans, and the film led to a sequel, 1980′s “Any Which Way You Can.” “The Mule”(2018): Only Eastwood could look intimidating as an 88-year-old. He plays Earl Stone, an out-of-business horticulturist who agrees to drive a truck to a town near the Mexican border. He later discovers he is hauling narcotics for a Mexican drug cartel. Eastwood plays senior citizens well, as “Gran Torino,' “American Sniper” and “Trouble With the Curve” prove. He might be old, but the icy stare remains. Other movies of note: “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “Unforgiven,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” and his latest work, “Richard Jewell.” So, make his day and wish Clint Eastwood a happy birthday.
  • Target will close dozens of its locations nationwide - including two in metro Atlanta, due to ongoing protests and destructive rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In Georgia, two locations in Buckhead will temporarily close.  The chain’s headquarters are based in Minneapolis, where Floyd’s death occurred while in police custody.  now former officer Derek Chauvin is charged in Floyd’s death.   “We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country. At this time, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores. We anticipate most stores will be closed temporarily. Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal,” the company said in a statement. Target says employees at the closed stores will be paid for up to 14 days during store closures, including coronavirus pay, and also have the chance to work at other stores. From Channel 2 Action News: During the first night of protests Friday, Atlanta firefighters worked to put out a fire started in the back of the Target at 2539 Piedmont Road. Atlanta fire officials say fireworks were set off in multiple locations as well. Atlanta firefighters worked to put a second fire that happened in a storage room Saturday night. The department can’t say for sure right now if it’s arson, but fire investigators are on the way to see. Atlanta Battalion Chief Kendale Mitchell said part of the building may have been left unsecured from Friday’s protests. “This store was broken into earlier when we were experiencing the protests and the store hasn’t been fully secured all the way. I think they have security on site but may or may not. It’s undetermined if it was a break in at this time or not,” Mitchell said.    
  • Police departments in metro Atlanta on Sunday were preparing for more possible protests that would round out a weekend of demonstrations resulting in hundreds of arrests along with damage to storefronts and shops.  Gwinnett County police, which encountered protesters Saturday at the mall Sugarloaf Mills, said the department is only aware of “the potential for protests” to happen Sunday in Lawrenceville.  “The police department will have an increased presence across the county today and into the night,” spokeswoman officer Ashley Wilson said.  Two police cars were damaged and four people were arrested in Saturday’s protest in Gwinnett, the agency said.  See the AJC’s complete coverage of the Atlanta protests here. Lawrenceville Mayor David Still told the city’s Facebook followers that police are preparing for the potential of activity to crop up Sunday and into Monday. While Lawrenceville supports the right to protest, Still said those gatherings “must be peaceful and respectful.”  “We will not tolerate any destruction of property or any acts of violence,” the mayor’s message reads. “Therefore, the Lawrenceville Police Department will utilize all resources available to protect our city.” The bulk of protest activity on Saturday was in Atlanta, where widespread property damage was reported and more than 150 people were arrested. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has extended the city’s nighttime curfew to run from 9 p.m. to sunrise on Monday.  READ | Georgia to deploy more National Guard troops ahead of new planned protests In Alpharetta, officers were on guard Saturday for the possibility that Avalon, the popular mixed-use shopping destination, would be the target of protest activity.  Alpharetta Department of Public Safety officials said Sunday on the agency’s Facebook page that officers worked with Avalon, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other agencies to stave off any threats of violence.  Spokesperson Jim Cheatham said the department is still “monitoring the situation and are prepared to take steps as needed.”  “As of right now, we do not have any information as to something happening at a location in Alpharetta,” he said. “This could change at any moment and we are monitoring.” Avalon said Sunday that it didn’t experience any issues, and that the development continues to work with Alpharetta police to prepare for any protests that could make their way to the area. Woodstock Police Chief Calvin Moss said the police department has more officers working and the department is working closely with management at Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in the event protesters show up at the mall.  About 30 people also demonstrated Saturday in downtown, and Moss said those were “peaceful and there were no issues.”  
  • — Phil Collen, guitarist for the rock band Def Leppard, recently surprised a group of high school students who were tuned in for a virtual music lesson. Collen partnered with Yousician, a music education company, to join a Zoom class for music students at Long Island High School for the Arts in Syosset, New York. The 13 students didn’t know the British musician would be joining their lesson, reported. Collen started by performing his band’s 1987 hit “Pour Some Sugar On Me.' He then allowed the students to play their own renditions of the hit song and offered feedback. Collen also talked about his music journey and offered advice to the aspiring musicians: “It really comes down to putting the effort in, practicing and getting the technique down,' he said. “It’s all a learning curve. You gotta be you.” According to, the students were granted free access to the Yousician platform to continue developing their musical skills over the summer. The students will also receive a free signed Def Leppard shirt.
  • Protesters who took to the streets angry about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis voiced their outrage and frustration but remained peaceful for hours before the violence erupted. At one point on Saturday, protesters in a group in Washington state started to approach a line of Seattle police, but organizers called the crowd back and urged them to protest peacefully. “[We’re] not thugs, [we’re] activists looking for change,” one protester said, according to KIRO-TV. Before things turned destructive, speakers shared their message, urging everyone to stand up to racism. But as frustration turned to violence, those who remained peaceful worried the message that brought them to the streets would be lost. “I’m out here to protest, not to burn our city. Not to throw rocks at these businesses who supported us all these years,” another protester told KIRO-TV. “I shouldn’t have to worry every day about every black man I know. But no. No destruction. Change,” Washington resident Anika Jones said. After the growing chaos led Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to declare a civil emergency and announce a curfew for the entire city, a move that has been enforced in many cities nationwide, Durkan thanked those who protested without violence. 'I know the vast majority of today's demonstrators came together with the intention to protest, grieve, and commit themselves to justice. For most of today, the demonstrations were peaceful, and I thank all those who chose to exercise their right to protest without hurting others,” Durkan said. Cyrus Habib, Lt. Gov. of Washington, also thanked those who protested peacefully and reminded people that violence only takes away from their message. “To those engaging in the destruction of property -- enough. Violence undermines our cause and begets more violence, distracting from the point,” Habib wrote on Twitter. Some protesters have echoed that sentiment. “This isn’t helping anyone. This is not about George Floyd,' an activist told KIRO-TV. “This is about stealing, and it’s sad because it diminishes the real issue.”
  • Congressman John Lewis criticized the looting and violence that followed peaceful protests in Atlanta and other cities, a position that is bringing him praise and accusations that the Civil Rights-era activist is out of touch.  “We must continue to teach the way of peace, the way of love, the philosophy and the discipline of non-violence,” he said on MSNBC Saturday evening. “And never, ever give up on any of our brothers and sisters. We’re one people; we’re one family. “  Lewis, 80, posted a longer statement on his U.S. House website directly addressing protesters.  “To the rioters here in Atlanta and across the country: I see you, and I hear you,” he wrote. “I know your pain, your rage, your sense of despair and hopelessness. Justice has, indeed, been denied for far too long. Rioting, looting, and burning is not the way. Organize. Demonstrate. Sit-in. Stand-up. Vote. Be constructive, not destructive. History has proven time and again that non-violent, peaceful protest is the way to achieve the justice and equality that we all deserve.” Read more: ‘Atlanta Way’ challenged after violent night of protests A post on Twitter excerpting his statement was shared by Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley among others thanking Lewis for speaking out.  While there were many people praising the congressman, who was badly beaten during a march across Selma’s Pettus Bridge in 1965 and is considered one of the last living Civil Rights leaders, others said he wasn’t fully acknowledging that previous protests often turned violent because of police brutality and that it, along with racism and economic inequality, continue to persist.  User @RykerStevenson replied: “I love you, you are a hero in my family but we have organized, sat in, stood up, voted. We’ve been doing that for decades. Maybe what the country needs is to know that if you murder a black man in the street then every street in major cities across the country will burn.”  Another person on Twitter, @SmizeEyes, wrote: “Look how well that approach turned out for Martin Luther King Jr. & you. I’m sure you still feel the mental & physical scars from that.” The protests, which swept across Atlanta for the past two nights, are sparked by outrage over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Marchers have also voiced concerns about the death of Breonna Taylor, who was killed when police in Louisville, Ky., erroneously executed a search on her home. The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, especially prosecutors’ conduct in that case, has also been criticized.  All of this is happening while many feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to job losses and limitations on daily life that affected African-Americans and other people of color more deeply.  “But what do you do when you've tried all those things and nothing has changed?” Christina M. Brooks wrote. “Trump and the Republicans sit on legislation or ignore it. Booth for gun control and civil rights. They revoke laws that even in a remedial way try to level the playing field. What more can people do?” Several said non-violent protests have proven ineffective.  Despite disagreement with Lewis’s statements, people who appeared to be condescending or disrespectful toward the congressman were generally rebuked.  Complete coverage: Atlanta protests Lewis’s MSNBC interview: