Can itching in the genitals indicate possible cancer?

A fellow caregiver asked...

I have terrible itching in the vaginal and anus areas. I have had it now for some weeks. I have been to the doctor who took blood and did lots of tests. Apart from beinf told I had high colestrol and being put on simvastins. The only other thing that was irregular was Eosinofilos, showing 8.50 and apparently they should be under 5. I am living in spain where these tests were done, so I do not know what that means in engliish. The spainish doctor sent me to be tested for allergies, none were found. Now he suggested I go see a dermtologist. I am 61 yrs old woman, only had sex with my long term partner, who swears he has not been unfaithful. I have tried all creams, even the ones from the doctor. It did stop for few days but it is back. I have been reading about non hodkins disease, lypoma, puritis. Could it be this? I lost a dear girlfriend 62 a year ago from cancer and her only sympton was itching. Would my blood tests have shown something more sinister?

Expert Answer

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

While itching all over the body can be a sign of cancer, it would be very unusual for itching specifically in the vaginal and anal areas to be a sign of cancer. The itching could be caused by the dryness that comes post menopause, which can lead to horrible itching and discomfort. Unless the doctors see something specific on the skin, it is very unlikely that localized itching in the genital area is caused by cancer.