Marcia Cross is aiming to overcome the stigma surrounding anal cancer after beating the disease last year.

In a new interview with Coping, the Desperate Housewives star is opening about the illness and how it affected her.

“The side effects are so gnarly,” she admitted. “I’m really happy with people that were really honest about it, because doctors like to play it down since they don’t want you to freak out. But I did read a lot online, and I used the Anal Cancer Foundation’s website, and they were pretty specific about things. So, I was kind of ready for what was to come.”

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Aside from the disease itself, Cross admitted that the treatment was no walk in the park.

“I will say that when I had my first chemo treatment, I thought I was doing great. And then out of nowhere, I felt this sting in my lip; it was excruciating. It was from the chemo,” Cross explained.

“So I did learn after that to be proactive and get ahead of things because I thought, ‘I don’t need that rinse, or these drugs, or whatever,’ and then I found myself in the thick of it, and I had gastric problems, mouth sores, all the terrible things that can happen with chemotherapy. It’s certainly not fun,” she continued.

Now that she’s completed treatment, Cross is getting used to what she describes as her “new normal, which includes being “more sensitive of what I eat and take better care of myself and my diet. I do like to remind people that there is life post-cancer, and after a certain time, it won’t be the first thing you think about every day.”

Cross kept her diagnosis a secret at first, and explained why she decided to go public.

RELATED: Marcia Cross Is Raising Awareness About The Dangers Of Anal Cancer

“Here’s the thing, I wasn’t interested in becoming the anal cancer spokesperson. I wanted to move on with my career and my life,” she said. “But, as I was going through it, I read repeatedly about people who were ashamed, who were hiding, who were lying about their diagnosis. And on the other side, how doctors were not comfortable talking about it. And women were not given the follow up care they needed. They weren’t told things like your vagina could develop scar tissue, which it does. And you have to do things afterward to take care of yourself. I just saw how we are so behind on all of this because it’s our anuses!”

The stigma surrounding the disease, she added, is something that needs to be vanquished.

“I’m a big fan of the anus. I just have a lot of respect for this tiny, little two inches that makes our lives livable and pleasant. I really think to destigmatize it is the way to go. It’s just silly — we all have one. It’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of.”