Itching 3 months after treatment does it mean cancers not gone?


A little bit of advice would be welcome. I was diagnosed with anal cancer stage 1 hpv  back in January, I have been through the normal chemo radiotherapy treatment. It was brutal but I got out the other side and was on a bit of a high as was recovering quickly. Just had my 3 month MRI scan, when I saw the consultant she said the lump had melted away and was no longer there. I was so pleased. But....on the anal examination the doctor could feel something, said it could be scaring or tissue. So has now referred me back to the surgeon for him to have a look. But not until December. I don't understand why I have to wait until then. Is it because they say the radiotherapy still works upto 6 months after treatment? Or is she just staying its scaring not to alarm me as it could still be cancer. Also since the examination I'm getting an itchy anus again like I had pre treatment. I've now convinced myself it still there. Does scaring or fiscal tissue itch? 


  • Hi  ,

    Firstly congratulations on the great MRI results.… It’s not uncommon for scar tissue to be detected following our treatment we’ve a few members that have been through the group that have gone on to have EUA’s (examination under anaesthetic) to confirm there’s no cancer still present, referral back to your colorectal surgeon would be the normal course of action, I think the delay will probably be as you say to give the radiotherapy a chance to finish doing its thing. I can only speak from personal experience & I’m obviously not medically trained but I also had some intermittent minor itching when I was healing, I took an antihistamine which seemed to calm things down. If you’re overly concerned put a call in to either your oncologist or surgeons secretary to request a telephone appointment to see if they can offer some reassurance, it’s a while until December especially when you’re sat worrying constantly, you may find a further conversation will be enough to settle you until your appointment in December. 


  • Hello Sass

    You must be so happy about those first MRI results!  It is always such a worrying time, though, and the consultants are always on high alert for any changes no matter how minor.  I had 'inperceptible' thickening where the original tumour was and was sent for a sigmoidoscopy, but it was nothing, after the event I was relieved that they were being so thorough but at the time my mind ran riot.  

    I never had itching, either before or after treatment but quite a few members of the forum have.  Three months is very early days and that is probably why they are waiting until December but if you are really worried I would call your consultant's secretary as Nicola suggested; they are usually very responsive and understanding towards patients' concerns.

    Best of luck, and please let us know how you get on.

    Irene xx

  • Hi Sass,

    Although it's never nearly as bad as it was before the diagnosis, I still get occasional itching. An antihistamine and some steroid cream usually sorts it out. 

    I think the raditation can continue even longer than 6 months. At least, that's the reason my team gave me for not scanning me until I was a year out of treatment. 

    And it's not unusual to have pain, which I'd hoped to be past by a year and a half. It's not nearly as bad as it was, so again, I'm trying to adjust my expectations to what is and not cling too hard to what I'd hoped.

    Call them and get an ointment for the itch! That itch is the worst!


  • Hi Nicola

    Thank you very much for your message. I feel less anxious reading your message and had a few days to think over what the oncologist consultant said to me. I've got a call out to my Macmillian nurse who was in the excamination room with me, to see if she can explain why I have to wait till December. I'm always scared they are hiding the details from me because they know I worry so. fingers crossed for a go out come, and I will certainly let you know the outcome.

    Many thanks for your advice.

    Sass x

  • HI Suz

    Thank you for your kind reassurence, you are right the itch is very annoying.......

    I hadn't thought of an antihistamine so will certainly give it ago. It's got less over the last few days so maybe the excamination set it off.

    It's always the waiting I find it the hardest, as my mind goes off to the worst case scenario.

    It's hard getting use to the new normal, as its never quite as it was before.

    Thank you again and I'll let you know how I get on.

    Sass x

  • Hi Irene,

    Thank you for your advise, It's comforting to know there is someone else out there whos going through or has been through some thing similar. I hope mine is thickening or scar tisuue that would be a good outcome but its just the waiting and I will have to learn to be patient.(lol).

    I can cope with any of the side effects life gives me, even the going to the toilets 5 times a day, as long as I get an all clear, as im going to be a Nan for the first time in April and can't wait.

    I will certainly let you know.

    Take care

    Sass x