Marcia Cross has revealed that she was in treatment for anal cancer, but that now she is cancer-free. According to A Plus, the 56-year-old Desperate Housewives star made three separate Instagram posts, declaring that she is now in remission.
In the first post, she shared a picture of her hair loss from cancer treatment and said, "So grateful and happy to be alive but sad that my hair fell out and is about 1 inch long now and looks cra cra. Anyone else have #hairloss due to #cancer? Talk to me. I feel you."
Fans were shocked by the post -- as this was the first time that Marcia has ever mentioned having cancer on Instagram. She also made sure to clarify in a second post that she is now cancer free. And in a third post, she explained that the type of cancer she had been battling was anal cancer.
The actress said talking about cancer is freeing. "After posting a picture of myself here and uttering the words #cancer and #hairloss, I felt liberated, deliriously free and completely me. I am ecstatically alive and what interests me post cancer is #AUTHENTICITY #VULNERABILITY #TRANSPARENCY. And of course #LOVE."
Her honesty has been met with words of encouragement and support from fans, complete with people sharing their own stories. One person commented, "I am 1.5 years post hellish treatment for the same rare cancer. It took about 9 months for my hair to begin growing well again, but it's back now."
Continuing the conversation about hair growth, another person asked, "Does it still feel like rabbit fur? It was CRAZY when it started growing back."
Another survivor said, "If I didn't lose my hair to chemo, I would NEVER had nerve to try a Mohawk which is now *my* hairstyle."
The type of cancer that Marcia Cross had -- anal cancer -- is rare. According to the American Cancer Society, only about 0.5 percent of all new cancer cases are diagnosed as anal cancer. But unfortunately, rates of it have been on the rise for the last 10 years.
It doesn't always present symptoms, but when it does, it can start off as minor bleeding which many people mistakenly believe to be from hemorrhoids. Other symptoms can include a lump near the anal opening, rectal itching, pain, and swollen lymph nodes in the groin or anal areas.
If you ever experience any of these symptoms, it's important to discuss them with your health care provider.