People going through cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, frequently report changes in taste. In fact, one study found that this occurred in 66% of patients. These changes can include food and drinks tasting bitter or like metal, an aversion to certain foods, or a change in the taste of your favorite foods.
Radiation therapy to the head and neck area can damage your taste buds and sense of smell or cause xerostomia (dry mouth caused by a decrease in or loss of saliva), which can exacerbate taste changes and interest in eating. Dental problems can also add to taste changes, so a visit to the dentist may be in order. Be sure to check with your oncology team to identify the best time during therapy to see a dentist. Mucositis (mouth sores) can also cause changes in taste.
Taste changes can impact your enjoyment of eating or drinking. In turn, you may not eat or drink enough for proper nutrition. Although the problem with taste changes typically resolves over time after therapy ends, it can persist for a year or longer. There are some things you can do to help manage taste changes and, in the process, decrease or prevent weight loss.
Taste changes can make you lose interest in eating. Some activities that can increase your desire or ability to eat enough for proper nutrition include:
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