General Hospital Star Finola Hughes on Raising Awareness About Rare Cancer

Anna has a rare form of cancer and Finola Hughes is getting the word out about it.

This week Anna got news many of us have dealt with: she has cancer. Finola Hughes, who portrays Anna, has been speaking out on the rare form of the disease her character has.

Anna, Stopped In Her Tracks

For the past few months, Anna (Finola Hughes) has been doggedly pursuing Valentin (James Patrick Stuart), in both physical and psychological senses. She wants to find out what he’s up to, but she also wants to know what exactly their connection is from the past. She’s sure understanding what happened to him–and them–in the past is the key to understanding him in the present.

Suddenly, though, in the middle of one of Anna’s interrogations of Valentin, she passed out. He rushed her to the hospital, and there, after some tests, including a bone marrow biopsy, Finn diagnosed Anna with Polycythemia Vera.

What Is Polycythemia Vera?

Polycythemia Vera (PV) is a relatively uncommon form of cancer. The main feature of PV is that the body creates too many red blood cells, leading to a host of complications, including an increased risk of potentially fatal blod clots, according to 22 out of every 100,000 people are diagnosed with PV. For some perspective, lung cancer afflicts 44 out of 100,000. Though there is no cure, per se, for PV, various treatments can make the disease a manageable one, allowing those diagnosed with it to live long, active lives.

“Rather then a malignant disease that can causes metastasis throughout the body, it’s more of a chronic condition”, said Atiya Khan, M.D. a pediatrician in Columbia, Maryland, who specializes in hematologic diseases.

Taking Up the Mantle

Hughes has become a sort of unofficial spokesperson for awareness about this illness. In doing research on PV, Hughes spoke with a sufferer named Linda.

“The most important piece of information I took away from my one-on-one with Linda is how crucial it is to advocate for your care and talk to your healthcare team about treatment and support options to manage the disease,” Hughes told

Hughes appeared on PIX11 news to talk about the illness and the experience of portraying someone diagnosed with it. When one of the hosts asked if Anna would die of PV, Hughes smiled and gave a reassuring answer.

“It’s a chronic disease that is treatable,” the actress said.

Hughes also took to Twitter to thank her many fans and followers who reached out to let her know that Anna’s latest storyline had personal significance for them. See her Tweet below.

For more on PV and related diseases, visit

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Akbi Khan has been watching and loving soap operas for 31 years and writing about them for the last four. She also loves sitcoms; musicals; laughter; going dancing; spending time with family and friends; fighting for animal rights, ethical environmental stewardship, civil liberties preservation, and LGBTQ rights; and evolving along a spiritual path. She has a Master’s in rhetoric and composition. Akbi is 39 years old and lives in Ellicott City, Maryland.

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