Hoping to lessen stigma and spur conversations between patients and health care professionals, Desperate Housewives actor Marcia Cross recently told CBS This Morning she was diagnosed with anal cancer about a year and a half ago.

“High risk” types of HPV are associated with a number of cancers beyond cervical and include cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus, penis, and throat. During the interview Ms. Cross revealed her husband battled throat cancer several years ago and her doctor believes their diagnoses are likely related.

When asked in the CBS This Morning interview why she’s speaking out she said “I know that there are people that are ashamed. You have cancer! Do you then have also to feel ashamed like you did something bad, you know, because it took up residence in your anus? Come on, really, there’s enough on your plate.”

Beyond addressing the shame and reluctance that keeps us from talking about anal diseases, Cross said she’s speaking out to encourage parents to have their kids vaccinated against HPV. As for her own daughters she says “My girls don’t know it but they’re up for their first shot at the end of the school year!”